Optimism study gives optimists even more reason to be optimistic

Optimism study gives optimists even more reason to be optimistic

via Psychology Today by Christopher Bergland

Women and men with greater optimism tend to live longer than their pessimistic peers, on average, according to a decades-long study published yesterday. This research identifies a strong correlational (not causal) association between optimism and “exceptional longevity,” which is described as living to age 85 or older.

These findings (Lee et al., 2019) were published on August 26 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). This decades-long epidemiological study was a collaborative effort between researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), Harvard Medical School, and the National Center for PTSD in Boston.

Do you consider yourself to be an optimist? In general, optimists tend to look on the bright side and have positive expectations about the future. Unfortunately, a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey published on August 25 reports that many Americans are pessimistic and feel a “deep and boiling anger.” Despite overall satisfaction with the U.S. economy, the majority of respondents to this poll expressed pessimism about the country they’re leaving to future generations.

As the parent of a tween, I feel pessimistic about the future sometimes, too. Nevertheless, as an ultra-endurance athlete, I spent decades finding a psychological sweet-spot between “pragmatic optimism” and Pollyannaism by learning to control my explanatory style. This mindset is transferable to daily life. I discuss some basics of “learned optimism” in The Athlete’s Way:

“You can learn to be optimistic by choosing to take that perspective. You have the choice to decide what your perspective is going to be. Whenever you are angry or negative, you can be assured that it is not only a present state of mind, but also that you have encouraged a habit. Thoughts move along the neural pathways most frequently traveled. By making a decision to see the glass as half-full, you can rewire your brain to be inclined toward a more optimistic explanatory style.”

There is lots of empirical evidence suggesting that whether you view the world through a pessimistic or optimistic lens is within the locus of your control

…keep reading the full & original story HERE