Recent Blog Articles
Seeing red? 4 steps to try before responding
Tics and TikTok: Can social media trigger illness?
Pandemic challenges may affect babies — possibly in long-lasting ways
4 immune-boosting strategies that count right now
If you have knee pain, telehealth may help
How to address opposition in young children
New study investigates treatment-associated regrets in prostate cancer
Minimizing successes and magnifying failures? Change your distorted thinking
Are poinsettias, mistletoe, or holly plants dangerous?
Waiting for motivation to strike? Try rethinking that
Why optimists enjoy better health
According to a series of studies, optimists enjoy better health than pessimists. The May issue of Harvard Men’s Health Watch explores possible reasons for this connection. Many studies have reported that optimism influences health. Among the findings:
According to a series of studies, optimists enjoy better health than pessimists. The May issue of Harvard Men’s Health Watch explores possible reasons for this connection.
Many studies have reported that optimism influences health. Among the findings:
- Optimistic coronary bypass patients were only half as likely as pessimists to require re-hospitalization.
- Highly pessimistic men were three times more likely to develop hypertension.
- People with positive emotions had lower blood pressures.
- In one study, the most pessimistic men were more than twice as likely to develop heart disease compared with the most optimistic.
These results argue persuasively that optimism is good for health. But people who are healthy are likely to have a brighter outlook than people who are ill, so perhaps optimism is actually the result of good health instead of the other way around. To counter this argument, scientists have adjusted their analyses to account for pre-existing medical conditions. The studies that made these adjustments found that existing illnesses did not tarnish the benefits of optimism.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!