• Mayo Clinic Minute: Optimism improves women’s health

Women may live longer if they are optimistic. Researchers analyzed surveys filled out by more than 70,000 nurses and found that those who were most optimistic had a 31 percent reduced risk of mortality, while those who were the least optimistic had a 25 percent reduced risk.  Mayo Clinic's Dr. Richa Sood says optimistic people tend to have healthy habits, and they often have good coping skills when it comes to stress.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: A broadcast-quality video package (1:00) is available in the download. Read the script.

New research shows optimistic women live longer than their pessimistic peers.

“We have known that there is some benefit from heart-related deaths if people are optimistic, but the way this study adds to the whole body of evidence is that there were decreased number of deaths reported from stroke, from infectious diseases, from respiratory diseases, as well as from, I think, all cancers.”

Dr. Richa Sood says if you think about it, it makes sense.

“Optimism is basically a positive outlook for the future. You expect good things to happen.”

If you’re optimistic, you are less likely to be constantly stress out. Stress does two bad things to the body: It increases cortisol levels, which decrease your ability to fight infections, and it raises your blood pressure, which increases your risk of heart disease.

“It’s good to know that optimism is about 25 to 30 percent genetic. So what that means is it can be learned, and there are skills that can increase optimism.”

Dr. Sood says you can start by recognizing and being grateful for the good things in your life.

Related articles