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Women who generally believe that good things will happen may live longer, a new study suggest.
The study which affirms the power of positive thinking, stressed that optimism is associated with reduced risk of death from stroke, respiratory disease, infection and cancer.
Optimistic people tend to act in healthier ways. Studies show that optimistic people exercise more, eat healthier diets and have higher quality sleep.
An upbeat outlook also may directly affect biological function. Research has demonstrated that higher optimism is linked with lower inflammation, healthier lipid levels (fats in the blood), and higher antioxidants (substances that protect cells from damage).
Optimistic people also use healthier coping styles. A summary of over 50 studies showed that when confronted with life challenges, optimists use healthier coping methods like acceptance of circumstances that cannot be changed, planning for further challenges, creating contingency plans, and seeking support from others when needed.
For this investigation, scientists reviewed records on 70,000 women who participated in a long-running health study that surveyed them every two years between 2004 and 2012. The study authors examined optimism levels and other factors that might affect the results, such as race, high blood pressure, diet and physical activity.
Overall, the risk of dying from any disease analyzed in this study was almost 30 percent less among the most optimistic women compared to the least optimistic women.
For the most optimistic women, for instance, the risk of dying from cancer was 16 percent lower; the risk of dying from heart disease, stroke or respiratory disease was almost 40 percent lower; and the risk of dying from infection was 52 percent lower, the study found.
Levels of optimism were determined from responses to statements such as “In uncertain times, I usually expect the best.’’
While the study uncovered an association between optimism and life span, it did not prove cause and effect.
Healthy behaviours may help fuel optimism.
It is easier to feel optimistic when you feel healthy and energetic. By choosing a healthy lifestyle, you may open yourself up to greater gratitude and create more energy for deeper relationships and professional satisfaction.
For people with depression and anxiety, medication may help to improve mental outlook and thus overall health, although this study did not address that specific issue.
The simple act of writing down best possible outcomes for careers, friendships and other areas of life could generate optimism and healthier futures.
It is pertinent to write acts of kindness you performed daily. Also write down things you are grateful for every day. Both these exercises increases optimism.

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