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The Secret to a Longer Life

Recently, I posted the results of two studies that found having a positive attitude leads to a healthier, higher quality of life. In both studies, researchers discovered a scientific link between optimism and improved mental and physical health in older people. That link between physical and emotional health has a great deal to do with the natural healing processes all of us have, if we choose to use them.

A new study released today takes those results an important step further: Older adults with a bright outlook on the future may live longer than those who take a negative view. In fact, older men and women judged to have optimistic personalities were less likely to die over the nine-year study period than those who had pessimistic dispositions.

Although 42 percent of the study group of more than 900 died, those with the highest levels of optimism at the start had the lowest death rates (30 percent) versus more than 57 percent in the most pessimistic group.

Much of this reduced risk was due to lower rates of death from cardiovascular disease among the most optimistic people. They were 77 percent less likely to die of a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular cause than the most pessimistic group, regardless of factors such as age, weight, smoking and whether they had cardiovascular or other chronic diseases at the start of the study.

Yahoo News November 1, 2004

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