The health benefits of optimism are numerous. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian of high intellect and spirituality, rightly said, “The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope, where others have resigned. It enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy”.
Being optimistic works wonders for your health. Here are five scientifically proven health benefits of optimism you reap for this amazing quality.
Promotes cardiovascular health
A recent research study, which had 5000 participants, found that the most optimistic people had twice the odds of being in ideal cardiovascular health than their pessimistic counterparts.
Scientists found that active-minded people had better blood sugar and total cholesterol levels appreciably than depressed people. They worked out a lot, were less likely to smoke, and had healthier body mass indices.
An earlier study points out that the most optimistic people had a 50 % reduced risk of experiencing an initial cardiovascular event than their pessimistic peers. They say a sense of well-being helps them to eat a balanced diet, exercise, and get sufficient sleep. I think these are the cornerstones for sculpting a healthy body.
Additionally, the positive people had better biological functions such as lower blood pressure, healthier blood fat profiles, and healthy body weight. That’s like a million-dollar jackpot you get just for thinking good about your future.
Boosts your immunity
Little acts of kindness and being thankful increase our optimism and well-being. The relationship between optimism and cell-mediated immunity, which plays a major role in protecting against viral infections, was examined in a study of 125 law students. The scientists found that the students, who believed they would be successful and felt more positive emotions, had increased cell-mediated immunity than their less optimistic counterparts. A sunny outlook can boost your immune system’s ability to ward off viral infections.
Wow! This thinking is new to me. Researchers conducted a study with 79 students, and they participated in the Cold Pressor Task (CPT). This process involves keeping the hand in cold water; a stimulus produces moderate pain. It can be mild to moderate, and the person voluntarily withdraws the hand.
Before the CPT, half of the students received induced optimism while the others were given controlled manipulation. The students who had induced optimism experienced low levels of pain than their counterparts. Amazing is it not?
Lowers the risk of stroke
The study authors say that optimistic people expect the best things in life and take care to promote their health. The researchers looked into the stroke and psychological survey data of 22 000 Americans ages 50 and over every two years. They specifically concentrated on 6,044 adults who did not experience a stroke at the start of the study. The optimism levels were measured using the Modified Life Orientation Test relying on a 16 point scale.
The results showed that with every point increase in optimism, there was a decrease in acute stroke risk over the two-year period. Optimism seemed to have a swift impact on stroke, and it protected against stroke above and beyond negative psychological factors. This optimism is as good as it gets!
Boosts your survival rate and overall health
It is not rocket science to believe that positive people tend to live longer. Researchers found that optimism helps you to remain healthy for the long haul. As I said earlier, active people exercise, follow a healthy diet, take their vitamins and sleep well.
An American study evaluated 839 individuals in the early 1960s on optimism and pessimism, and they had a complete medical evaluation. When the people were checked 30 years later, the researchers found that optimism was linked to longevity.
Researchers looked at 6,959 students when they entered University in the mid-1960s. They found that pessimism took a heavy toll on health and the most pessimistic persons had a 42% higher rate of death than their positive counterparts. That’s a stunning find!
Could you pass it on?
As humans, we tend to have a short supply of optimism when life throws some tough situations at us. But if we have the habit of filling our jar of optimism from the ever-flowing river of optimism, that is the Creator of the Universe; the jar will not become empty for the long journey you have to traverse on this earth. So enjoy the sunshine and lead a healthy life.