An "extraordinary" study has found that older pessimists outlive optimists. In fact, a group of researchers from Germany's University of Erlangen-Nuremberg led by Frieder R. Lang may have proof in that old cliche that "only the good die young." Lang and his team published this study in the American Psychological Association journal and may have proven that older people who see the cup as half empty outlive
their more optimistic peers.
Lang and his team followed over 40,000 adults for a decade and found people who were "overly optimistic" regarding their futures had a greater incidence of disability, injury, or even death. In contrast, those who had lower expectation for more "satisfying futures" were not only more likely to live longer than their more optimistic peers but also lived better, healthier lives.
The researchers collected data via interviews from 1993 to 2003 by having study participants rate projections on their future satisfaction and again after five years elapsed. When subjects were re-interviewed five years later, researchers compared the projected satisfaction levels with their predicted satisfaction levels. The team concluded that participants with a more realistic, even pessimistic outlook had healthier lives than those with a more optimistic, "Pollyanna" view. The data found those with a "glass half full" perspective reported a 9.5% increase of disabilities and a 10% higher risk of death.
Lang offered, in his own words, the interesting conclusions of this study with: "Our findings revealed that being overly optimistic in predicting a better future was associated with a greater risk of disability and death within the following decade." Land and his team attributed study participants prone to negative thinking lived "more carefully, taking health and safety precautions" than the more optimistic participants.
There may be a plus side to negative thinking after all.
For more regarding the study, go here h.