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Optimists may have longer lives
Reuters on Yahoo ^ | 12/22/06 | Amy Norton

Posted on 12/22/2006 10:22:49 PM PST by NormsRevenge

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Optimists may enjoy longer lives than people with a dimmer outlook on the future, a long-term study suggests.

Researchers found that of nearly 7,000 adults followed since their college days in the 1960s, those who were optimistic in their youth had a lower risk of dying over the next 40 years than their more pessimistic peers.

On average, the most pessimistic study participants were 42 percent more likely to die of any cause than the most positive participants, according to findings published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings medical journal.

The results echo those of a number of past studies on personality factors and health, including research that has linked optimism to longer life. One study of elderly adults found that those with a positive view of the future were less likely than pessimists to die over the next decade -- regardless of their health at the start of the study.

The current findings could be explained by any number of factors, according to the study authors, led by Dr. Beverly H. Brummett of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.

For example, they say, optimists are less likely to suffer from depression than are pessimists, which could, in turn, affect their physical health. They may also maintain a healthier lifestyle, paying more attention to their diet and exercise habits.

These latest findings are based on a 40-year follow-up of 6,958 men and women who entered the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in the mid-1960s. At the time, they took a standard personality test that gauges a person's tendency to be optimistic or pessimistic.

In general, optimists believe negative events are only temporary and don't let them affect their overall attitude about themselves and the world. Pessimists, in contrast, take such events to heart, often blaming themselves and believing that the bad times will last forever.

In this study, 1,630 were deemed pessimists and 923 optimists, while most were judged to be somewhere between a pure optimist or pessimist.

If pessimism is a risk factor for premature death, that begs the question of whether anything can be done about it.

It is difficult to change the basic constructs of your personality, Brummett told Reuters Health. However, she added, "there are many aspects of personality that can be modified to a certain degree if an individual is motivated to do so."

For example, Brummett said, people with a hostile temperament -- a trait linked to heart disease and premature death -- may be able to change their ways with the help of anger management therapy.

On the other side of the spectrum, people might try injecting some positivity into their lives. As an example, Brummett pointed to meditation, which, according to some research, may boost positive emotions.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic Proceedings, December 2006.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: lives; longer; optimists
Bah Humbug!
1 posted on 12/22/2006 10:22:51 PM PST by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge
Maybe they just think they have longer lives.
2 posted on 12/22/2006 10:24:40 PM PST by kinoxi
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To: NormsRevenge; mikrofon; martin_fierro

Dang! Just my luck, now I have to live longer.


3 posted on 12/22/2006 10:26:23 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (I never win.)
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To: NormsRevenge

I was about to write that same thing when I saw this thread ! :-P


4 posted on 12/22/2006 10:27:23 PM PST by fieldmarshaldj (Cheney X -- Destroying the Liberal Democrat Traitors By Any Means Necessary -- Ya Dig ? Sho 'Nuff.)
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To: NormsRevenge
If pessimism is a risk factor for premature death, that begs the question of whether anything can be done about it.

No, nothing, I'm afraid.

5 posted on 12/22/2006 10:29:16 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (You pessimists are doomed.)
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To: NormsRevenge

I'm bookmarking this and saving it for all the Bah Humbuggers. :-)

Merry Christmas!


6 posted on 12/22/2006 10:29:50 PM PST by jazusamo (http://warchronicle.com/TheyAreNotKillers/DefendOurMarines.htm)
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To: Charles Henrickson
heehee

good one

7 posted on 12/22/2006 10:30:32 PM PST by teenyelliott (Soylent green should be made outta liberals...)
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To: NormsRevenge

As bleak as my life has been, I wouldn't want to be anybody else for anything!


8 posted on 12/22/2006 10:31:32 PM PST by Solamente (Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out...)
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To: teenyelliott
heehee
good one

Really? I didn't think so.

9 posted on 12/22/2006 10:32:04 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (My posts always stink.)
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To: Charles Henrickson

Well, that just means you're gonna die sooner than me, is all.


10 posted on 12/22/2006 10:32:47 PM PST by teenyelliott (Soylent green should be made outta liberals...)
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To: All

Now watch, I've killed the thread.


11 posted on 12/22/2006 10:33:20 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Again. Sorry.)
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To: Charles Henrickson
Your glass of bourbon is half full. Really.
12 posted on 12/22/2006 10:34:11 PM PST by teenyelliott (Soylent green should be made outta liberals...)
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To: NormsRevenge

I'd be optimistic too, if I knew I was gonna live longer.


13 posted on 12/22/2006 10:37:32 PM PST by Larry Lucido
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To: teenyelliott

Hey, teeny. I'll have a glass of bourbon, please.


14 posted on 12/22/2006 10:38:35 PM PST by Larry Lucido
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To: NormsRevenge

They also say that conservatives are happier than liberals, and we have more kids than they do. No wonder they're so bad-tempered...


15 posted on 12/22/2006 10:46:25 PM PST by WestVirginiaRebel (Common sense will do to liberalism what the atomic bomb did to Nagasaki-Rush Limbaugh)
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To: NormsRevenge

Is there such a thing as a positive realist..of course there is!!


16 posted on 12/22/2006 10:46:35 PM PST by berdie
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To: NormsRevenge

I believe twelve step programs have the potential to improve one's outlook on life. Such programs are based in religion (spirituality) and psychology.

I suspect the study could reveal a further correlation: that optimistic people are more likely to believe in God (higher power).

Hence optimists don't feel they alone carry the weight of the world. That is God's job.

Pessimists perhaps feel a personal responsibility for the bleak world they see, and absent God they see no hope.

My hypothesis is that spiritual people are most optimistic and live longer! Yet even if the DON'T live longer, they live more happily!


17 posted on 12/22/2006 10:46:53 PM PST by truth_seeker
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To: NormsRevenge

Judging by this report, the DUmmies should live to what, about 105?


18 posted on 12/22/2006 10:50:12 PM PST by doug from upland (Stopping Hillary should be a FreeRepublic Manhattan Project)
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To: Cannonette

You will live forever, Suzy Sunshine.


19 posted on 12/22/2006 10:51:31 PM PST by Cannoneer No. 4 (Either we bring them freedom, or they destroy us.)
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To: truth_seeker
My hypothesis is that spiritual people are most optimistic and live longer! Yet even if the DON'T live longer, they live more happily!

I think that is the key,,

20 posted on 12/22/2006 10:52:30 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ...... Merry Something PC.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Thos does not bode well for democrats....


21 posted on 12/22/2006 10:53:22 PM PST by onyx (Phillip Rivers, LT and the San Diego Chargers! WOO-HOO!)
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To: NormsRevenge; onyx
thos THIS
22 posted on 12/22/2006 10:54:05 PM PST by onyx (Phillip Rivers, LT and the San Diego Chargers! WOO-HOO!)
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To: teenyelliott
I used to belong to a pessimist support group, but then I got better and they made me quit. Figures.

Hey, maybe they'll let me back in now!

Oops! Better not get my hopes up. . . .

23 posted on 12/22/2006 10:55:15 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (I'm positive I'm a pessimist!)
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To: NormsRevenge
Pessimists, in contrast, take such events to heart, often blaming themselves and believing that the bad times will last forever.

Sure sounds like my mother in-law

Who has very high blood pressure from worrying about every damn thing that happens or doesn't happen

24 posted on 12/22/2006 10:57:16 PM PST by Mo1 (Thank You Mr & Mrs "I'm gonna teach you a lesson" Voter ... you just screwed us on so many levels)
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To: NormsRevenge

Pessimist by policy, optimist by temperament, it is possible to be both.
How?
By never taking an unnecessary chance and by minimizing risks you can't avoid
This permits you to play out the game happily, untroubled by the certainty of the out come.

Robert Heinlein


25 posted on 12/22/2006 11:02:32 PM PST by HuntsvilleTxVeteran ("Remember the Alamo, Goliad and WACO, It is Time for a new San Jacinto")
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To: Larry Lucido

"I'd be optimistic too, if I knew I was gonna live longer."

Not if you'd had a life like mine...


26 posted on 12/22/2006 11:04:42 PM PST by oldfart (The most dangerous man is the one who has nothing left to lose.)
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To: Letaka
I'm fairly optimistic. Hopeful too. All the way to infinity. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
27 posted on 12/22/2006 11:08:15 PM PST by Shimmer128 (**Happiness isn't free, it's priceless)
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To: doug from upland

Let them. 105 who wants to live that long. I think 75 is a good age to go out. After 75 things start to break down and your body starts to ache. Plus, the last six months of our lives are the most expensive of our lives due to medical. However, if everyone could stay healthy and young then living until 100 and then dying in our sleep would be great!


28 posted on 12/22/2006 11:28:32 PM PST by napscoordinator
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To: Charles Henrickson

LOL


29 posted on 12/22/2006 11:32:33 PM PST by Irish Rose (Will work for chocolate.)
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To: NormsRevenge
Bah Humbug!

You may be partly right. Here's a couple of lines from the Wikipedia entry on Norman Cousins.

"Told that he had little chance of surviving (an unknown, deadly condition), Cousins developed a recovery program incorporating megadoses of Vitamin C, along with a positive attitude, love, faith, hope, and laughter induced by Marx Brothers films. "I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep," he reported. "When the pain-killing effect of the laughter wore off, we would switch on the motion picture projector again and not infrequently, it would lead to another pain-free interval."

The Vitamin C was Sodium Ascorbate, administered IV to the tune of 25 grams (may not be exact figure) per day. That story can be found in "Anatomy of an Ilness". That was done under the care of his doctor in a hotel room - the hospital had given up on him.

"Cousins also served as Adjunct Professor of Medical Humanities for the School of Medicine at the University of California, where he did research on the biochemistry of human emotions, which he long-believed were the key to human beings’ success in fighting illness"(Wiki again), and wrote a book about that called "Head First: The Biology of Hope". In that book he made no mention of Vit C, an omission that is odd at best, since he did talk about his own experiences with laughter.
30 posted on 12/23/2006 12:32:30 AM PST by caveat emptor (Billions and Billions)
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To: Charles Henrickson; mikrofon; Tijeras_Slim; NormsRevenge
Optimists may have longer lives

Their meetings only seem to last forever.

31 posted on 12/23/2006 3:19:03 AM PST by martin_fierro (MERRY CHRISTMAS, DAMMIT)
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To: NormsRevenge

My Optimist lived to 102.

32 posted on 12/23/2006 3:20:37 AM PST by martin_fierro (MERRY CHRISTMAS, DAMMIT)
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To: NormsRevenge

college freshmen in '60s ??


33 posted on 12/23/2006 5:18:32 AM PST by larryjohnson
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To: martin_fierro
Y'know I applied for membership in the local optimist club, but I don't think they're gonna let Me in...

CC

34 posted on 12/23/2006 5:30:40 AM PST by Celtic Conservative ("Minutum Cantorum, Minutum Baloram, Minutum Carboratum Descendam Pantorum")
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To: NormsRevenge

Just another thing for a pessimist to be pessimistic about :-(.

Merry Christmas all! And as an optimist I wish all a very, special new year with a multitude of blessings because of course they are coming. They always do. :-).


35 posted on 12/23/2006 5:39:58 AM PST by GOP Poet
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To: NormsRevenge

Are they optimists because they know they will live longer, or do they live longer because they want to and have more to live for?


36 posted on 12/23/2006 5:45:54 AM PST by Leftism is Mentally Deranged (leftists and their friends the jihadists are pessimists and have nothing to live for.)
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To: Celtic Conservative
Y'know I applied for membership in the local optimist club, but I don't think they're gonna let Me in...

Wow! I was gonna start a pessimists club, but I didn't think anybody would have showed up...

37 posted on 12/23/2006 6:14:43 AM PST by FDNYRHEROES (Always bring a liberal to a gunfight)
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To: NormsRevenge

I was graduated from high school fifty years ago. This year, I received a list of those, who are no longer with us.

When the Nam deaths, other military deaths and accidental deaths from car accidents to lightening strike deaths were factored out, the list was filled with pessimists from highschool years to the end of their lives.

A very large % ot these negative people were born into miserable democrat/liberal families and grew up to be miserable democrats.

Most of them never had a sense of humor and expected the worse to happen to the world, their families and them. Most died without a church/religion. Maybe they had self fullfilling low expectations of life.

The liberals with a sense of humor, pride in their families and selves and with a religious connection seem to be doing okay. They would be classified as the Old Type of Democrats, and we see the same out here in California with that rare type of democrat.


38 posted on 12/23/2006 7:29:12 AM PST by Grampa Dave (Republican voters = a large viable group of responsible citizens. CINO Non voters aren't!)
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To: martin_fierro

My optimist? My proctor had no idea waht to to do about my prostate checkup.


39 posted on 12/23/2006 3:02:36 PM PST by mirkwood (Gun control isn't about guns. It's about control.)
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To: napscoordinator

I was kidding about the DUmmies. They are so angry and pessimistic, it is amazing that any of them live to be 40.


40 posted on 12/23/2006 5:10:48 PM PST by doug from upland (Stopping Hillary should be a FreeRepublic Manhattan Project)
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