Would you classify yourself as a glass half empty or glass half full person? If you answered half full, new studies have actually revealed that optimism in women is tied to healthy aging and even “exceptional longevity” in a racially diverse group of participants. Put simply? Happy people might actually live longer.
While many people consider optimism and pessimism an inherent part of their identity, making intentional changes to see the silver linings in life may help you live longer and even have a higher quality of life. Let’s dive into the recent findings.
What the study found.
There have been former studies on the same topic, which suggested that a positive outlook on life may contribute to healthy aging and increase longevity—however, the participants were mostly white individuals. Conversely, this wider-ranging study from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) cohort was recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and thankfully explored the concept on a broad range of participants of varying ethnic profiles.
In this group of 161,808 women between the ages of 50 and 79, the study revealed firstly that “women with higher optimism levels were more frequently non-Hispanic white, had high education levels…had somewhat healthier lifestyles, but did not differ meaningfully with regard to age and marital status.” What was especially interesting: They were also less likely to report health issues like low mood.
The study method.
Based on the study findings, the higher levels of optimism each participant had, the longer they lived in comparison to women who espoused lower optimism levels. This was calculated by utilizing a validated questionnaire (6-Item Life Orientation Test Revised), measuring participants’ degree of agreement or disagreement with a variety of questions. Some of the questions were worded in a positive way and others negative, and levels of optimism were determined by how they reacted to each.
The study authors recognized that participants in this trial “had higher education levels than the average U.S. population.” This may affect quality of life and therefore optimism levels on the whole, so it would be worth expanding this study even further to include a wider range of education levels among participants to capture an even broader set of demographics.
Additionally, the categorization of race and ethnicity is still rather broad within this study, and the authors agree that breaking down the groupings even further could provide more clarity as to the happiness levels of different groups of women.
How to support longevity.
Although optimism and life outlook clearly have an impact on longevity, there are other things you can do in your day-to-day life that may be able to support healthy aging (i.e., health span) even further. While a nutrient-dense, colorful, and balanced diet is of course essential, and exercise has known ties to longevity, a comprehensive and high-quality multivitamin may also be a worthwhile addition to your routine.
mbg’s ultimate multivitamin+ is a great option to not only fill those inevitable micronutrient gaps (those essential vitamins and minerals you need each day) but also support the important aspects of your body from immune health to your brain, heart, muscles, bones, and more.*
Intentionally formulated with six unique bioactives (glutathione, resveratrol, and more) to support longevity, your body will also benefit from 14 essential vitamins and 11 essential minerals to solidify good health.* Basically, this innovative and truly complete vegan multivitamin (for women and men!) makes nourishing your body pretty darn simple.
It may not always be your first inclination to approach life with optimism, but adjusting your mindset may help you age with ease and increase your overall life span. Of course, this is easier said than done, but making small changes to your habits to find small joys in your day while supporting your body with good nutrition could make all the difference in the years to come.