People lived longer if they were more:
- optimistic about the future,
- closer to other people,
- and felt more useful and relaxed.
Other key factors linked to living longer included getting married and having a degree.
The results come from a survey of 28,662 people.
Both people’s mental health and their medical records were examined by the survey.
The people analysed in the survey had similar levels of physical health, income and other demographic characteristics.
Dr Christopher Jacobi, the study’s author, said:
“The results indicate that better positive mental health seems to have a somewhat protective effect against mortality.Previous research has also revealed that both extroverts and optimists are more likely to live longer than introverts and pessimists.
In research literature the most frequently stated ways in which positive mental health is likely to affect mortality are via direct physiological responses such as lowered blood pressure, capacity to cope with stress, less drinking and smoking, an active lifestyle, and better sleep quality.
Likewise, people with high positive mental health might not be affected as severely by potentially negative symptomatic and physiological effects of life events like divorce or unemployment.”
As I wrote previously:
“Optimists have healthier hearts than pessimists, a new study of over 51,000 adults finds.The new study was presented at the British Sociological Association’s Medical Sociology conference in Birmingham on 8 Sept 2016.
Optimists also had healthier body mass indexes, were more physically active and less likely to smoke.
Researchers found that the more optimistic people were, the greater their overall physical health.
The most optimistic people were 76% more likely to have health scores that were in the ideal range.”