Positive outlook, longer life?

Optimism may boost your life expectancy

Is the glass half full or half empty? Your outlook may affect how long you’ll live, according to Berkeley Wellness, a collaboration of UC Berkeley School of Public Health and a team of national writers. It’s hard to prove that positive or negative attitudes impact health, but there is a body of research suggesting that sunny outlooks are associated with longer lives—though it might be that healthy people are more optimistic. Keeping in mind the role of external factors—education, wealth, race, genetics, access to health care and luck—here are some ways personality may impact health and life expectancy:

• Chronic anger and frustration can lead to smoking, heavy drinking a poor eating habits.

• Optimistic people may be more motivated to change bad habits, or not develop them to begin with.

• Optimistic people may be more likely to seek and follow medical advice.

• Optimism may benefit the immune system, though research on the subject is inconclusive.