Cheery Optimists Die Younger

40Via UPI:

Personality can affect longevity — those with the most optimism and cheerfulness die younger than their less positive counterparts, U.S. researchers found.

Study leader Howard S. Friedman, distinguished professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside; Leslie R. Martin, a psychology professor at La Sierra University in Riverside; and staff researchers — over a 20-year period — tanalyzed data from a study of 1,500 bright children who were about 10 years old when the study began in 1921.

“Longevity Project participants who were the most cheerful and had the best sense of humor as kids lived shorter lives, on average, than those who were less cheerful and joking,” Martin said in a statement. “It was the most prudent and persistent individuals who stayed healthiest and lived the longest.”

Part of the explanation lies in studying the health behaviors of the study subject — the cheerful, happy-go-lucky kids tended to take more risks with their health across the years, Friedman explained.

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  • Eclipses Enterprises

    Ha..I love these 1984esque news headlines popping up all over the place now. Happiness=Death and Misery=longer life span. 

  • Eclipses Enterprises

    Ha..I love these 1984esque news headlines popping up all over the place now. Happiness=Death and Misery=longer life span. 

  • Hadrian999

    optimism+reality=one hell of a shock cynicism is kinda like airbags for life

    • SF2K01

      I know mom said never to get in the back of stranger’s vans who are offering candy, but I’m feeling really optimistic about this guy…

  • Hadrian999

    optimism+reality=one hell of a shock cynicism is kinda like airbags for life

  • Haystack

    It’s because so many of us dark-minded pessimists end up killing them. 

  • Haystack

    It’s because so many of us dark-minded pessimists end up killing them. 

  • DeepCough

     You mean my secretion of happy thoughts is actually not fighting off the cancer?!

  • DeepCough

     You mean my secretion of happy thoughts is actually not fighting off the cancer?!

  • http://www.facebook.com/bethywilliams Bethy Williams

    The good news about being one of these cheery optimists is that I’m not worried about this either.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bethywilliams Bethy Williams

    The good news about being one of these cheery optimists is that I’m not worried about this either.

  • http://twitter.com/DrHSFriedman Howard S. Friedman

    Yes it’s surprising but so are a lot of other myths busted in  this 80-year study.
    To read the Introduction (free) to The Longevity Project, go to
      The Longevity Project
    http://www.howardsfriedman.com/longevityproject/

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Well, it’s a wash then, idn’t it?  A good attitude wins you early release from the Karmic cycle of rebirth and a shitty attitude condemns you to prolong it.

    • Hadrian999

      its a plus if you like the world

      • Liam_McGonagle

        Maybe that’s part of the riddle of existence.  The lives we know here as human beings are the only things about which we have any reasonable basis to make declarative statements.  Yet it’s also undeniably true that everyone leaves this world eventually.  100% certainty about that.

        So we oscillate between spending whatever energy we’re lucky enough to find on either:

        1.)  Desparately trying to run up the score, from a very narrow socially conditioned perspective, like accumulating money, social prestige, etc.

        OR

        2.)  Kicking back and enjoying the ride for the sheer thrilling weirdness of the experience, propriety be damned.

        Granted, it seems like 99.9% of us haven’t even caught on to the fact that we all eventually leave.  There are some very peculiar forms of the Sky-Daddy myth that seek to glorify and preserve our pathetically narrow mortal perspectives, and they’re pretty appealling.  But some small percentage of us have caught on, or don’t care (as much) about ephemeral fripperies.

        I rather like the Buddhist idea of reincarnation.  Seems very easy to reconcile to both a robust, self-denying morality a la Christ’s original preaching, and basic principles deduced from science (e.g., Conservation of Energy).

        • Liam_McGonagle

          P.S.  Just for clarification, I think it may be a matter of balance, rather than an all-or-nothing choice between ‘worldliness’ and ‘spirituality’ accross the board.  The world can be heaven–if there’s enough variety of experience available to you or you’re smart enough to be receptive to what’s offered.  Or it can be hell if you’re constantly stuck in a featureless emotional and intellectual landscape that doesn’t offer any release at all.

          Maybe that’s what Nirvana really is–not an absolute release from rebirth and suffering, but access to a more satisfying variety of experience.

          • Voidthought

            Good stuff!

          • Hadrian999

            I think a big part of the problem people have is that they want their ideal world, and if anything isn’t just what they want they look past it. the world is beautiful full of joy and pain, love it for what it is, experience all it offers and live every moment it gives you. every moment weather sweet or painful should be savored because you will never have that moment again.

        • GoodDoktorBad

          “…enjoying the ride for the sheer thrilling weirdness of the experience, propriety be damned.”

          Propriety for its own sake is a living hell and metaphorically, it rose up from the depths. 
          It flows from the source of  ”the thing that should not be”.  Yeah, I’m quoting Metallica….lol

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Super-double-plus good there, me friend.  A person actual gets points deducted from their score for excess orthodoxy.

  • Anonymous

    Well, it’s a wash then, idn’t it?  A good attitude wins you early release from the Karmic cycle of rebirth and a shitty attitude condemns you to prolong it.

  • Hadrian999

    its a plus if you like the world

  • GoodDoktorBad

    What is constant cheerfulness, but an overcompensation for an underlying depressed state? It’s simply an  unbalanced way of looking at life that often leads to things like schizophrenia. Optimists, like manic depressives see things in black and white, good and evil terms. Gray or full spectrum color are not things they recognize. 

    This is why “cheerful” people can be just as annoying as constantly grumpy folks. Life’s possibilities present many colors to experience, not just black, white and shades of gray…

    • uihfiube

      good way to generalize there… pretty much, this is bs anyway bc it goes against everything we know about happiness and its affect on mental health.. however, it actually does not state the cause of death in these cases, but it does say: 

      “we found that as a general life-orientation, too much of a sense that ‘everything will be just fine’ can be dangerous because it can lead one to be careless about things that are important to health and long life,”which can translate simply into carelessness and recklessness… but also one cannot worry constantly about bad things potentially happening and trying to prevent them… although, i can agree with you that recklessness and disregard for one’s own safety along with the safety of others could be a sign of a more serious issue that needs to be addressed, but i wouldn’t go as far as saying “optimists are like this…” and “pessimists are like this…” because we are all different in how we handle things and too many things factor in to make “if, then” statements.

      • GoodDoktorBad

        I should have said “extreme optimists”….since we are talking about extremes here.

  • Anonymous

    What is constant cheerfulness, but an overcompensation for an underlying depressed state? It’s simply an  unbalanced way of looking at life that often leads to things like schizophrenia. Optimists, like manic depressives see things in black and white, good and evil terms. Gray is not a color they recognize. 

    This is why “cheerful” people can be just as annoying as constantly grumpy folks. Life’s possibilities present many colors to experience, not just black, white and shades of gray… 

  • Anonymous

    Maybe that’s part of the riddle of existence.  The lives we know here as human beings are the only things about which we have any reasonable basis to make declarative statements.  Yet it’s also undeniably true that everyone leaves this world eventually.  100% certainty about that.

    So we oscillate between spending whatever energy we’re lucky enough to find on either:

    1.)  Desparately trying to run up the score, from a very narrow socially conditioned perspective, like accumulating money, social prestige, etc.

    OR

    2.)  Kicking back and enjoying the ride for the sheer thrilling weirdness of the experience, propriety be damned.

    Granted, it seems like 99.9% of us haven’t even caught on to the fact that we all eventually leave.  There are some very peculiar forms of the Sky-Daddy myth that seek to glorify and preserve our pathetically narrow mortal perspectives, and they’re pretty appealling.  But some small percentage of us have caught on, or don’t care (as much) about ephemeral fripperies.

    I rather like the Buddhist idea of reincarnation.  Seems very easy to reconcile to both a robust, self-denying morality a la Christ’s original preaching, and basic principles deduced from science (e.g., Conservation of Energy).

  • Anonymous

    P.S.  Just for clarification, I think it may be a matter of balance, rather than an all-or-nothing choice between ‘worldliness’ and ‘spirituality’ accross the board.  The world can be heaven–if there’s enough variety of experience available to you or you’re smart enough to be receptive to what’s offered.  Or it can be hell if you’re constantly stuck in a featureless emotional and intellectual landscape that doesn’t offer any release at all.

    Maybe that’s what Nirvana really is–not an absolute release from rebirth and suffering, but access to a more satisfying variety of experience.

  • Gnosticsexpot

    Its because everyone knows their own fate, and when you know you are going to die young, you tend to enjoy life while you can.

  • Gnosticsexpot

    Its because everyone knows their own fate, and when you know you are going to die young, you tend to enjoy life while you can.

  • Anonymous

    “…enjoying the ride for the sheer thrilling weirdness of the experience, propriety be damned.”

    Propriety for its own sake is a living hell and metaphorically, it rose up from the depths. 
    It is flows from the source of  ”the thing that should not be”.  Yeah, I’m quoting Mettalica….lol

  • Voidthought

    Some of the comments are suggesting that it’s the cynics and dark-minded people who live longer. I would disagree and say that it’s people who look deep into the fantasy and reality of life and try to experience life with a higher sense of “spiritual” awareness who live longer. People who don’t just take what they were given and not explore their imagination, consciousness, etc. And the people who live on the surface, tend to go with the flow and don’t really deepen their consciousness to the myriad spectrum of awareness which is all the pain and glory, love and hate, death and life, etc. People don’t understand that we are not here to just experience pleasure(but most of us try and maximize pleasure), but rather to experience every possible scenario we could subject ourselves to and live LIFE! Life being the giver of all things good, bad and everything in between and on the outside.

  • Voidthought

    Some of the comments are suggesting that it’s the cynics and dark-minded people who live longer. I would disagree and say that it’s people who look deep into the fantasy and reality of life and try to experience life with a higher sense of “spiritual” awareness who live longer. People who don’t just take what they were given and not explore their imagination, consciousness, etc. And the people who live on the surface, tend to go with the flow and don’t really deepen their consciousness to the myriad spectrum of awareness which is all the pain and glory, love and hate, death and life, etc. People don’t understand that we are not here to just experience pleasure(but most of us try and maximize pleasure), but rather to experience every possible scenario we could subject ourselves to and live LIFE! Life being the giver of all things good, bad and everything in between and on the outside.

  • Voidthought

    Some of the comments are suggesting that it’s the cynics and dark-minded people who live longer. I would disagree and say that it’s people who look deep into the fantasy and reality of life and try to experience life with a higher sense of “spiritual” awareness who live longer. People who don’t just take what they were given and not explore their imagination, consciousness, etc. And the people who live on the surface, tend to go with the flow and don’t really deepen their consciousness to the myriad spectrum of awareness which is all the pain and glory, love and hate, death and life, etc. People don’t understand that we are not here to just experience pleasure(but most of us try and maximize pleasure), but rather to experience every possible scenario we could subject ourselves to and live LIFE! Life being the giver of all things good, bad and everything in between and on the outside.

  • Voidthought

    Good stuff!

  • Voidthought

    Good stuff!

  • Anonymous

    Super-double-plus good there, me friend.  A person actual gets points deducted from their score for excess orthodoxy.

  • Anonymous

    I know mom said never to get in the back of stranger’s vans who are offering candy, but I’m feeling really optimistic about this guy…

  • Junny

    I always thought optimists are idealists but sometimes determined to make a change, while pessimists are realists but sometimes gloomy bores.

  • Junny

    I always thought optimists are idealists but sometimes determined to make a change, while pessimists are realists but sometimes gloomy bores.

  • uihfiube

    good way to generalize there… pretty much, this is bs anyway bc it goes against everything we know about happiness and its affect on mental health.. however, it actually does not state the cause of death in these cases, but it does say: 

    “we found that as a general life-orientation, too much of a sense that ‘everything will be just fine’ can be dangerous because it can lead one to be careless about things that are important to health and long life,”which can translate simply into carelessness and recklessness… but also one cannot worry constantly about bad things potentially happening and trying to prevent them… although, i can agree with you that recklessness and disregard for one’s own safety along with the safety of others could be a sign of a more serious issue that needs to be addressed, but i wouldn’t go as far as saying “optimists are like this…” and “pessimists are like this…” because we are all different in how we handle things and too many things factor in to make “if, then” statements.

  • Hadrian999

    I think a big part of the problem people have is that they want their ideal world, and if anything isn’t just what they want they look past it. the world is beautiful full of joy and pain, love it for what it is, experience all it offers and live every moment it gives you. every moment weather sweet or painful should be savored because you will never have that moment again.

  • Anonymous

    I should have said “extreme optimists”….since we are talking about extremes here.

  • Anonymous

    Heh, key word in the quote above: “persistent.” The people who live the longest are the ones who refuse to stay down no matter what the world throws at them. Takes a certain amount of grim determination and a steel backbone to spit in the face of death. Grim determination tends to dampen an overly optimistic view because you have to be able to make sober and objective assessments of reality, and no one who does much of that could stay extremely optimistic for long.

    Hopefully there, by the grace of being a stubborn bitch, go I ;)

  • Anonymous

    Heh, key word in the quote above: “persistent.” The people who live the longest are the ones who refuse to stay down no matter what the world throws at them. Takes a certain amount of grim determination and a steel backbone to spit in the face of death. Grim determination tends to dampen an overly optimistic view because you have to be able to make sober and objective assessments of reality, and no one who does much of that could stay extremely optimistic for long.

    Hopefully there, by the grace of being a stubborn bitch, go I ;)

  • Anonymous

    Heh, key word in the quote above: “persistent.” The people who live the longest are the ones who refuse to stay down no matter what the world throws at them. Takes a certain amount of grim determination and a steel backbone to spit in the face of death. Grim determination tends to dampen an overly optimistic view because you have to be able to make sober and objective assessments of reality, and no one who does much of that could stay extremely optimistic for long.

    Hopefully there, by the grace of being a stubborn bitch, go I ;)

  • quartz99

    Heh, key word in the quote above: “persistent.” The people who live the longest are the ones who refuse to stay down no matter what the world throws at them. Takes a certain amount of grim determination and a steel backbone to spit in the face of death. Grim determination tends to dampen an overly optimistic view because you have to be able to make sober and objective assessments of reality, and no one who does much of that could stay extremely optimistic for long.

    Hopefully there, by the grace of being a stubborn bitch, go I ;)