Do you tend to see the world through rose-colored glasses? It turns out, that may be the key to healthy aging. A new study finds an optimistic outlook helps prevent health risks linked to stress, like dementia.
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine studied 233 senior adults over 14 years to see how being optimistic can affect health.
- Participants filled out optimism questionnaires about their positive and negative experiences and their stressors for eight consecutive nights at three different times during the study.
- In the end, researchers found the participants who were optimistic experienced fewer stressors and negative mental states.
- Previous studies have found that stress has a negative impact on health, including increasing inflammation, which can lead to aging at a rapid rate and increase chances of dementia.
- Based on the new study’s results, researchers conclude staying optimistic about life can help people cope with stress better and as a result, avoid some health risks as they age.
“This study tests one possible explanation, assessing if more optimistic people handle daily stress more constructively and therefore enjoy better emotional well-being," explains study author and psychologist Lewina Lee. “By looking at whether optimistic people handle day-to-day stressors differently, our findings add to knowledge about how optimism may promote good health as people age.”