Optimistic People Live Longer, Healthier Lives

According to researchers at University of Pittsburgh optimists live longer, healthier lives than pessimists. The researchers studied death rates and rates of chronic health conditions of 100,000 women ages 50 and over since 1994 who were a part of the Women's Health Initiative study.

The study was led by Dr. Hilary Tindle who looked at women who were extremely mistrustful of other people, a group they called "cynically hostile, and compared them with women who were more trusting.

When asked questions such as "I've often had to take orders from someone who didn't know as much as I did" or "It's safest to trust nobody," the women in the hostile group tended to agree with them.
Presenting her study Thursday at the American Psychosomatic Society's annual meeting in Chicago, Tindle said, "These questions prove a general mistrust of people," adding that this type of thinking took its toll on people.  

The researchers after eight years of follow up in the study found that optimistic women were 14 % less likely to die from any cause than pessimists, and 30 % less likely to die from heart disease. Optimists also were also less likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes or smoke cigarettes.

"Cynically hostile women were 16 percent more likely to die (during the study period) compared to women who were the least cynically hostile," Tindle said. These women were also 23 % more likely to die from cancer.
Tindle added that although the study showed a link between negative attitude and negative health effects it did not mean that negative attitudes can cause negative health effects. "I think we really need more research to design therapies that will target people's attitudes to see if they can be modified and if that modification is beneficial to health," she said.

Acting as a perfect example for the recent study is Mittie Miller of Calera, Oklahoma who turned 103 years a short while ago. Born before world war one and before women's suffrage, Mittie has outlived her children which she says has been one of the most difficult things she has had to survive, but through it all she stays positive. "I been down the road, I lot of sorrow and it breaks my heart but you know god's been so good to me."

Explaining the secret to Mittie’s long life, Brett O'Bannon a local life coach said, "Optimism will help you be more resilient, when tough times come whether its the economy or a struggle in a relationship."

Mittie takes absolutely no medications and is said to be healthy as an ox, and the resilient lady who has lived through it all says, "I have pulled cotton, I've sawed wood, I've worked in the cafe's...but god's been good to me he's given me strength."

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