LONGEVITY STUDY: HOPE AND OPTIMISM

Have you ever wondered if being optimistic may contribute to longer life more than if pessemistic? Are you generally an optimist or a pessimist? If an optimist then you may find hope in a recent study’s findings. If a pessimist then you may want to work at improving your outlook in life.

A recent study was published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The findings indicated that most subjects who had positive outlooks had 50% – 70% better chances of reaching “exceptional longevity” (which is considered 85 years old) than those who had negative outlooks.

Also the study indicated that an average of 11% – 15% longer life span is associated with those who are optimistic.

Optimism was defined by the study as “a psychological attribute characterized as the general expectation that good things will happen.”

It is commonly believed that attitude affects physical health.  Researchers also believe that those more optimistic were more likely to be physically active, which may increase longevity as well.

The study results clearly indicate that being optimistic is a “psycho-social asset that has the potential to extend the human lifespan,” according to Lewina Lee, an author of the study and clinical research psychologist at the National Center for PTSD at VA Boston.

Interestingly, optimism may be modifiable using relatively simple techniques or therapies,” Lee added.

Although the study did not answer specifically how optimism leads to longer life, Laura Kubzansky, a senior author of the study, commented that it may relate to how optimistic people cope with stress.

“Other research suggests that more optimistic people may be able to regulate emotions and behavior as well as bounce back from stressors and difficulties more effectively,” Kubzansky further explained.

Researchers were from Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, National Center for PTSD at VA Boston Healthcare System, and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM). The study followed more than 70,000 individuals, both men and women, up to 30 years before publishing results.

If being positive helps us live longer, then we may improve our chances for longer lives by improving our outlook. Whether that will lengthen life’s journey or not, it is sure to make the trip more pleasant.  It may even increase our hope and optimism.

Let us see what the Bible says about longevity and the expectation that good things will happen.

“So you shall keep His statutes and His commandments which I am giving you today that it may go well with you and with your children after you and that you may live long on the land, which the Lord your God is giving you for all time.”  (Deuteronomy 4:40)

“You shall have a full and just weight; you shall have a full and just measure that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”  (Deuteronomy 25:15)

“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
(Psalm 23:6)

“Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the LORD.”  (Psalm 31:24)

“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; For length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.”  (Proverbs 3:1, 2)

“For by me your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you.”
(Proverbs 9:11)

“The fear of the Lord prolongs life….”
(Proverbs 10:27)

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)

“The one who desires life, to love and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.”  (1 Peter 3:10)

These are only a few of many such verses. Peace, courage, strength, and other good things come from Creator God. Looking to Him continually and receiving daily will increase our hope and optimism. Try Him and see for yourself.

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