A Huffington Post featured blog asked whether positivity can truly make us live longer.  The author, Dr. David Hamilton, writes “Most people assume that positive thinking is just something that we do to help achieve our goals, or even to get through difficult times. But a host of exciting research has shown that attitude affects our health … [and] can add years to our lives”.  As evidence of his claim, Dr. Hamilton cites various reports.  The first report was performed by Carnegie Mellon University and explored how a patient’s emotional outlook affected their reaction to the flu virus, finding that “those who were most positive actually produced less mucous”.  A second report, performed by the Mayo Clinic, performed attitude tests on patients in the 1960’s and followed up on their health 30 years later to find that “[t]he wellness of being is not just physical, but attitudinal”.  A third report, this time from Yale and the University of Miami, asked “660 elderly people whether they agreed that we become less useful as we age. Those who didn’t agree, and therefore had the most positive attitude about aging, lived an average of 7.5 years longer than those with the most negative attitudes”.  A fourth and final report, financed by the Dutch government, also found that people with a positive attitude, lived longer.

So why should you follow popular advise and turn that frown upside down?  Dr. Hamilton writes: “regular stress causes inflammation … [which] plays a key role in wound healing because it helps to draw blood and nutrients to the wound site to facilitate repair”. He adds that “negative attitude, because it causes stress and inflammation,  speed up aging. This is likely why positive people live longer”.

For more information:

Huffington Post

Science Daily

 

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