Pessimistic? You Might Live Longer

Study cites dangers of being 'overly optimistic'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2013 1:03 AM CST
Pessimistic? You Might Live Longer
Pessimistic people may lead longer lives, a study suggests.   (Shutterstock)

Here's a bit of a surprise: Pessimistic people actually appear to live longer than their sunnier peers, a study suggests. Researchers reviewed 40,000 subjects over a 10-year period and found that "being overly optimistic" was linked to "a greater risk of disability and death within the following decade," the lead author said, per the Telegraph. "Pessimism about the future may encourage people to live more carefully, taking health and safety precautions."

Respondents were asked how satisfied they expected to be after five years; when that period had passed, researchers assessed the subjects' actual satisfaction. Another surprise: "Stable and good health and income were associated with expecting a greater decline compared with those in poor health or with low incomes," researchers said. But at Canada's National Post, they caution: "There are already a lot of findings that being positive is actually positive ... We only add to it that being positive right now may not inform us well about the effects of how you think about the future." (Read more pessimism stories.)

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