Pessimism is Good for You

#Health

Wed, Aug 6th, 2014 12:00 by capnasty NEWS

Pessimists may be a little torn about this: having a negative outlook is actually a positive thing. Reportedly, "pessimism can at times be beneficial to a person's physical and mental well-being" and that such a negative outlook on life "may result in a longer and healthier life."

A study published last year in the journal Psychology and Aging found that older people with pessimistic views of the future were more likely to live longer and healthier lives than those with a rosier outlook. The researchers used data from a nationally representative survey in Germany of about 11,000 people. Among other questions, people were asked how satisfied they were with their lives and how satisfied they thought they would be in five years.

When looking at respondents older than 65, a total of about 1,300 people, the researchers found that the likelihood of surviving or remaining healthy increased by about 10% for those who were more pessimistic, said lead author Frieder Lang, a professor of psychology and gerontology at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg.

"Those who are defensively pessimistic about their future may be more likely to invest in preparatory or precautionary measures, whereas we expect that optimists will not be thinking about those things," said Dr. Lang, who noted the study controlled for factors such as health and finances, but didn't prove causality.

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