Research reveals that optimistic women live longer than pessimistic people, on average. Of course, other factors, such as genetics and lifestyle, play a role, but a positive attitude can make a big difference. Viewing the world through rose-colored glasses may not seem easy, but optimism can contribute to longevity.
A study by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers connected positivity to a longer lifespan in women. The study authors revealed that optimistic women had a longer life, with many living beyond age 90. This belief proved true across various racial and ethnic groups. The Harvard researchers analyzed data from 159,255 participants in the Women’s Health Initiative. The women enrolled in the study from 1993 to 1998 were aged 50-79. Researchers followed them for 26 years.
NOTE: We acknowledge that optimism also benefits men and cover how it impacts males in a companion article.
Study Finds That Optimistic Women Have a Longer Life
Among the participants, 25% of the most optimistic women had a 5.4% higher chance of living longer. They also were 10% more likely to live past age 90 than the 25% least optimistic women. Also, the researchers found no association between optimism and any specific race. The trends held even after accounting for factors such as mental health and chronic conditions.
Lifestyle factors like diet and exercise didn’t impact longevity as much as previously thought. They accounted for less than 25% of the connection between optimism and longer life. So, it seems that mental fortitude matters more in the long run.
“A lot of previous work has focused on deficits or risk factors that increase the risks for diseases and premature death. Our findings suggest that there’s value to focusing on positive psychological factors, like optimism, as possible new ways of promoting longevity and healthy aging across diverse groups,” Hayami Koga, a Ph.D. student in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Population Health Sciences program and lead author of the study said.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society on June 8, 2022.
10 Reasons Why Optimistic Women Live Longer
So why to joyful women outlive their more pessimistic counterparts?
1. They Experience Less Stress in Their Daily Lives.
Optimistic women take things in stride and don’t let stressful events ruffle their feathers. A 2013 study by Concordia University found that optimists regulate stress better. During especially stressful situations, optimists had more stable cortisol levels than pessimists. The researchers believe that having a positive attitude helped the participants buffer the detrimental effects of stress.
2. Optimistic Women Have Higher Resilience.
As we stated above, women with optimistic attitudes tend to have superior coping skills. They experience stress and anxiety like everyone else but don’t allow it to overwhelm them. By falling back on their stress-management skills like mindfulness, they remain calm in the storms of life.
Other strategies they may use to combat negativity include the following techniques:
- positive affirmations
- deep breathing exercises
- showing kindness and gratitude
- positive self-talk
- self-care such as aromatherapy, massages, and warm baths
- focusing on positive news and media only
3. They Have Higher Energy Levels.
The most optimistic women have consistently elevated energy levels because of their upbeat attitude. Since they don’t allow negative energy in their life, it helps them remain focused on the silver lining. They also have clear goals in life and believe they can achieve them. Simply put, they use their energy to build themselves up rather than self-criticism.
4. They Don’t Let Trivial Matters Bother Them.
Women who find happiness in life create it themselves by blocking out negativity. They turn off the news, keep a smile, and don’t allow themselves to dwell on depressing matters. They realize that life will have problems, but they ride the waves instead of drowning in them. By remaining calm within, they learn not to sweat the small stuff.
5. They’re More Motivated To Maintain Good Health.
Optimistic women tend to have better health than their pessimistic counterparts. Since negative mindsets weaken the immune system, this comes as no surprise. But, happy women also have more energy to devote to their health. They realize they must put in the effort to maintain a balanced mind and body—yoga, meditation, a healthy diet, exercise, and proper sleep all matter regarding well-being.
6. Optimistic Women Empower Themselves and Others.
Positive women build themselves and others up by focusing on their noble qualities. By seeing the best in ourselves, we will also see that reflected in everyone we meet. Therefore, optimistic people empower themselves with positive thoughts and active, meaningful life. When others feel this uplifting energy radiating, it inspires them to change.
7. They Challenge Any Negative Thoughts or Beliefs, Replacing Them With Optimism.
If a negative thought pops into their minds, they immediately challenge it. Better yet, they watch the ideas without reacting to them. Optimistic people practice positive self-talk and only surround themselves with motivating friends and media sources. They live a joyful life by becoming what they want to see in the world.
8. They’re Not Afraid to Expand Their Worldview.
The happiest people like to get outside their comfort zone often. They have open minds and hearts and enjoy getting to know people from all walks of life. Optimistic people don’t subscribe to extremist beliefs that drive a wedge between themselves and others. They offer love and kindness and have a growth mindset. Life is a school, and they’re not afraid to learn new things.
9. Optimistic Women Feel Excited About New Opportunities.
Positive women don’t shy away from opportunities that could allow them to grow. Whether in their relationships, career, or spiritual life, they remain open to the possibilities. This ties back into a growth mindset, where they don’t build walls between themselves and life. Instead, they tear down any walls holding them back from becoming their best self.
10. They Feel Grateful For What They Have in Life.
Perhaps most importantly, optimistic women live longer because they express gratitude in life. Even if they have little materially speaking, they’re rich in love and spirituality. They know what’s truly important in life: family, community, and making a positive impact on others.
So, they feel thankful for what they have and work hard to make life better for others. By doing this, they become wealthy in heart and spirit, which matters more than anything money could buy.
Final Thoughts on Reasons Why Happy Women Enjoy Longer Lives
A Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health study shows optimistic women live longer. Researchers found that women with positive attitudes across all cultures and ethnicities had a 10% higher chance of living beyond 90. Seeing the world through rose-colored glasses lowers their stress, makes them more grateful and deepens their connection. Optimism can take you farther in life, as the studies above reveal.