Study: Optimistic attitude may be secret to living past 85

BOSTON (WHDH) - Possessing the power of positive thinking could be the secret to living a long, healthy life past the age of 85, a new study suggests.

People with more of an optimistic outlook on life are more likely to live longer and to achieve “exceptional longevity,” according to researchers from Boston University’s School of Medicine.

Researchers say the study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was based on survey data collected from 69,744 women and 1,429 men.

“Both groups completed survey questions to assess their level of optimism, as well as their overall health and habits, such as diet, smoking, and alcohol use. The women were followed for 10 years, the men for 30 years,” a post on Boston University’s website read.

The study found the most optimistic men and women demonstrated an 11-15 percent longer lifespan and had 50-70 percent greater odds of reaching 85 years of age compared to the least optimistic groups.

“This study has strong public health relevance because it suggests that optimism is one such psychosocial asset that has the potential to extend the human life span. Interestingly, optimism may be modifiable using relatively simple techniques or therapies,” said Lewina Lee, the study’s first and corresponding author.

Researchers say the study also suggests that more optimistic people may be able to regulate emotions and behavior more effectively, in addition to coping with stressors.

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