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Optimists Live Longer

If you look on the bright side, you just might live longer—much longer, according to some upbeat new research. A new study finds women who characterize themselves as having the highest levels of optimism live 15% longer than the least optimistic women and have a 50% greater chance of reaching age 85. The most optimistic men live 11% longer and are 70% more likely to reach 85. (The different results for men and women are not significant, the researchers say.)

One key seems to involve the body’s stress response. Studies have shown that chronic stress can lead to inflammation which can cause many diseases. Compared to pessimists, the most optimistic people say they sleep better and longer, are less likely to be sleepy during the day, and are 74% more likely to report no symptoms of insomnia.

Lead author Rosalba Hernandez, a professor at the University of Illinois, says: “Optimists are more likely to engage in active problem (solving) and to interpret stressful events in more positive ways.” People who are optimistic and goal-oriented agree strongly with statements like “I can find something positive, even in the worst situations.” Optimists experienced greater reductions in depression, anxiety, and panic disorders.

Possible Preaching Angles:

Faith; Sovereignty of God; Trust – Life is often troubled (John 16:33) and dark (Eph. 6:12) but our attitude is crucial. Christ followers are commanded to not worry (Philippians 4:6-7), or fear (Psalm 56:3), but to give thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18). This optimism comes from trusting our sovereign Heavenly Father who promises us that our future will be supremely better than our present (Eph. 2:6-7).


Robert Roy Britt, “Optimists Live Longer,” Elemental.com (8-27-19)

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