Advertisement

What are the health benefits of optimism?

Henry S. Lodge, MD
Internal Medicine
Optimism is an extraordinary limbic resource, and available to everyone, because it’s a learned skill. You can decide to be optimistic with remarkable success. Not Pollyanna optimistic, but glass-half-full optimistic, and it’s worth the effort. Women who are optimistic about motherhood before pregnancy have a much lower risk of postpartum depression. Optimistic women have lower mortality rates from cancer and heart disease. If you approach illness with a positive, optimistic attitude, you have lower blood pressure, better immune function. You recover from bypass surgery faster and better, you get out of bed sooner after back surgery and you go back to work and regular exercise sooner. Anger doubles your risk of heart disease. But perceiving your work as satisfying cuts your risk of heart disease in half.
Younger Next Year for Women: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy - Until You're 80 and Beyond

More About this Book

Younger Next Year for Women: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy - Until You're 80 and Beyond

Co-written by one of the country's most prominent internists, Dr. Henry "Harry" Lodge, and his star patient, the 73-year-old Chris Crowley, Younger Next Year for Women is a book of hope, a guide to...
Sharine Forbes
Geriatric Medicine

There are many health benefits associated with being optimistic. For example, the MacArthur study suggests that those who possess a “self-efficacy” quality will also age better because they have a more optimistic outlook on overall aging process (Williams & Kemper, 2010). Thus, those who are optimistic will live happier and healthier lives. Therefore, smile as often as you can and enjoy the journey of life!

Dr. Kathleen Hall
Preventive Medicine
Scientific studies confirm the health benefits of a "Pollyanna" attitude or optimism. Research shows optimistic individuals enjoy a host of health benefits such as a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and infections. A recent study reveals that optimistic individuals reduced their risk of death by 50 percent over the nine years of the study. Maintaining a positive outlook on life has direct benefits on aging.
Uncommon H.O.P.E.: A Powerful Guide to Creating an Extraordinary Life

More About this Book

Uncommon H.O.P.E.: A Powerful Guide to Creating an Extraordinary Life

Every day, the little constant stresses and anxieties leave us feeling unfulfilled, not living the best life possible. But what if the life we want to live is with in our grasp and we don't even know...

Continue Learning about Mental Health

Avoid Loneliness and Cultivate Personal Relationships
Avoid Loneliness and Cultivate Personal Relationships
In Alan Sillitoe’s 1962 classic British film, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, a reform school student (Tom Courtenay) makes a name for him...
Read More
What makes a bully want to hurt other people?
Raychelle C. Lohmann, MS, LPCRaychelle C. Lohmann, MS, LPC
Oftentimes, bully perpetrators are troubled and lack positive coping and social skills.  According t...
More Answers
4 Simple Ways to Avoid Feeling Lonely
4 Simple Ways to Avoid Feeling Lonely4 Simple Ways to Avoid Feeling Lonely4 Simple Ways to Avoid Feeling Lonely4 Simple Ways to Avoid Feeling Lonely
Loneliness and isolation can have serious health effects—but being proactive goes a long way.
Start Slideshow
What Can I Do to Cope with Toxic Worrying?
What Can I Do to Cope with Toxic Worrying?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.