It Turns Out, Pessimism is a Health Risk

Pessimism is a world-wide problem, according to the World Economic Forum. From the United States to South America and around the globe, many people view things as being worse than they really are. Importantly, it’s an interesting phenomenon with real-life consequences. The truth is, personal levels of pessimism/optimism could impact health and quality of life. And it may even shorten your lifespan.

How? Pessimists get sick more often and have a more difficult time recovering from illness than their optimistic counterparts. What’s more, pessimists are more likely to die from whatever ails them, especially heart disease. But there is something we can do about it. Learn which steps to take to be more optimistic. It's important for your health.

The Link Between Pessimism and Physical Health

It’s not a huge stretch to think that pessimism affects mental health. After all, having a negative attitude all the time surely wears down nerves and may lead to depression and anxiety. But did you know that physical health can similarly be affected by attitude?

Pessimists are less likely to eat healthily and work out, which can cause a host of problems. They may also suffer from sleep disturbances, high blood pressure and heart disease. They are prone to make other choices that affect their health in a negative way, too. For example, they may avoid going to the doctor because — in their belief system — there’s nothing the doctor can do anyway.

What the Studies Show About Pessimism

Numerous studies have been conducted to uncover the role pessimism plays when it comes to health and life expectancy. Forbes highlighted several studies. In a quick rundown, the findings were as follows:

  • Pessimists get sick more often.
  • Optimistic women have a 50% better chance of reaching 85 years of age than pessimistic ones.
  • Optimistic men have a 70% chance of reaching the age of 85.
  • Pessimists are more likely to have (and die from) coronary artery disease.

Researchers have also discovered that optimistic people heal faster and fare much better when dealing with illness and traumatic events in their life. Optimism is a truly positive force, while pessimism is a real downer.

How to Be More Positive

So being optimistic is pretty important, don't you think? But how to get there if pessimism is more in your nature?

According to Oprah Magazine, you can become more positive by being kind to yourself and paying less attention to negative thoughts — essentially, ignoring them until they get bored and go away. So obviously, awareness is key. It's time to start paying attention to daily thought processes. And once awareness is achieved, you're really making progress and improvement gets fast and easy.

When negative thoughts do creep in, it can help to make a real effort to change your internal dialogue into a positive one — crowd out the negative with the positive. You can also become a more positive person by being kind to others either in daily practice or through volunteering, as well as practicing mindfulness techniques such as meditation, journaling and repeating mantras. There's a lot out there to help you achieve this, but really, awareness is the most important step, so start there today.

The bottom line is that optimists are healthier and live longer while conversely, pessimists tend to have more health issues and a shorter life span. Pessimism could be cutting your life short, but you don’t have to just accept it. You can take steps to be a more positive, healthy person. You are in control — isn't that great?

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2/11/2020 8:00:00 AM
Wellness Editor
Written by Wellness Editor
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