Positive Outlook Correlates with Good Health

Scientific data indicates that older people play by different social rules than younger people, so many negative observations about elders are not justified. It seems that being nice and presenting a positive image to gain people’s appreciation ceases to be a major motivator as people age.  Social niceties are of less concern to older people, so grumpiness and crankiness becomes an outward expression. This contrasts with the fact that people tend to be happier as they age, especially after age 80. One reason may be that older adults tend to ignore negative information and instead focus on things of their own choosing. This has to do with life experience, with psychology, says Nir Barzilai, who runs a center on aging at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. This calls to attention the question of whether cranky people really die younger than “Pollyannas;” whether happiness contributes to longevity in a meaningful way. According to comprehensive research, the connection between outlook and longevity appears to be stronger than previously thought, as published data indicates in the current British Medical Journal. Those reporting more enjoyment during middle age were 24 percent less likely to have died of any cause during the study period than those who said they did not enjoy themselves. Additional data that outlook might be relevant to health was added by Andrew Steptoe of the University College of London in another study that found: “The longer people are in a positive state, the better it probably is as far as their health is concerned.”  Keeping up friendships and maintaining strong social ties is considered crucial to a longer and happier life, so it could be said that it is an investment in the future.

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