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Optimism May Save Your Health

Optimism May Save Your Health

Nothing gets a pessimist grumpier than being told to look on the bright side, but…if you’re a pessimist, look on the bright side—it’s good for you!

A recent study carried out by researchers at Concordia University found a plus side to looking on the plus side: optimists’ cortisol levels stay more stable in the face of stressful moments than the cortisol levels of pessimists. “Who cares?” grumble pessimists. Well, cortisol helps with everything from your immune function to blood pressure regulation to insulin release, so keeping it stable is important. Even occasional, small increases in cortisol levels can be good for you—it’s your body’s “fight or flight” response to stress that can help give you a burst of increase immunity, lower your sensitivity to pain, and give you a quick burst of energy for survival (hence its “fight or flight” connection).

But when it’s too high for too long a time, like it was found to be in glass-half-empty types, you’ll get the crappy effects of cortisol: increased abdominal fat, impaired cognitive performance, higher blood pressure, lowered immunity, and decreased bone tissue and muscle mass. Basically making optimists as a whole slimmer, smarter, fitter, and less likely to get sick than pessimists. Factor in how many times those “stressful moments” the researchers looked at pop up through the average week (everything from getting stuck in traffic to a meeting at work to going to the mall on the busy day can spike cortisol) and it’s easy to see how important it is to keep the glass half-full.

The study, published in the journal Health Psychology, was small—135 people were asked about their daily stress and had their cortisol checked five times a day for 12 days over a six-year period. But the results do back up a lot of studies over previous years linking psychological well-being (including optimism) with physical health. One 2012 scientific review linked it with fewer heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular issues. A 2010 study found that when optimism drops, so does your immune response. And a study of over 200 centenarians found that most were optimists.

So are you just doomed if you’re a natural-born pessimist? You’d like to think so, wouldn’t you, pessimists? Actually, looking on the bright side is easier than you may think. Research has shown pessimists can become optimists through things like meditation, surrounding yourself with positive people, and even just smiling more (it releases serotonin, the happy hormone).

Are you an optimist or pessimist? What do you do in order to keep looking on the bright side?

Related:
3 Ways to Bring Out Your Inner Optimist

Read more: Alternative Therapies, General Health, Health, Mental Wellness

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479 comments

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5:19AM PST on Jan 19, 2015

Ty

5:19AM PST on Jan 19, 2015

Ty

2:01PM PDT on Sep 10, 2013

The mind is a powerful thing

8:33AM PDT on Aug 25, 2013

important to remember

2:57AM PDT on Aug 25, 2013

Il faut toujours observer attentivement ce que l'on pense et encore plus ce que l'on dit, si l'on veut être heureux dans la vie.

8:57PM PDT on Aug 22, 2013

ty

9:03AM PDT on Aug 22, 2013

Thanks

1:22AM PDT on Aug 21, 2013

tyvm...

10:44AM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

Sorry, to everyone for making four-posts to communicate what I wanted to only take one-post.

10:41AM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

I hate when preventing us from using certain characters, subtracts parts of my comments in posts. I make more mistakes when such waste of time and space (and pushing great posts farther down) posts (personal shots and Etc.) get to me and I make mistakes in my posts; it takes more for me to communicate with proper English, in the first place.*

John S.,

Heck, a lot higher percentage of foreign countries’ citizens (of the citizens that do not have Learning Challenges that affect Language learning and communication -not like myself) can communicate in more than one-language (English is most popular language on the planet).

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/optimism-is-good-for-you.html#ixzz2cRBUBk6B

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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