Optimism the key to good health?

Optimism the key to good health?

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Health benefits from an optimistic attitude

Optimism not only offers advantages in overcoming everyday challenges, but also has a direct impact on health. The Mayo Clinic reports in a current announcement that an optimistic perspective could be used to improve health.

Recently, researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health published a study in the specialist magazine "JAMA" that linked optimism with a reduced likelihood of heart attacks and strokes. People with a positive outlook on life not only have healthier hearts, but are also healthier and happier in general, adds Dr. Richa Sood, a doctor at the Mayo Clinic for General Internal Medicine.

“There are two different aspects that we have to talk about. One is the behavior-based side of things, the other is the physiology that changes with the positive attitude, ”says Dr. Sood. The cited study also provides evidence of positive physical effects.

Why are optimists healthier?

Dr. sees a possible explanation for the positive health effects. Richa Sood said that optimistic people are more likely to take responsibility for their own health and are interested in what makes them healthy. Perhaps they are starting to eat healthy or they are going to the gym and exercising to maintain their weight, Dr. Sood.

Increased inflammation levels with pessimism

According to the expert, a negative attitude also has a direct impact on the inflammation levels in the body. This connection between pessimism and inflammation markers is strong and can be measured, reports Dr. Inflammation, for example, increases the risk of heart disease.

Effects on the telomeres

Last but not least, pessimism and stress show a negative effect on the so-called telomeres. “The longer the telomer, the younger the cell. So it is an indicator of cell age. As the cells divide, the telomer shortens and eventually the cell dies. Chronic stress shortens the telomeres. Pessimism shortens telomeres, ”explains Dr. Sood.

Positive thinking for better health

However, good news can also be derived from the study results, said the Mayo Clinic expert. "If you work to be more optimistic, you can improve your overall health," emphasizes Dr. (fp)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters


  • Mayo Clinic: Mayo Clinic Minute: How optimism improves your health (published 11.12.2019),
  • Alan Rozanski, Chirag Bavishi, Laura D. Kubzansky, Randy Cohen: Association of Optimism With Cardiovascular Events and All-Cause Mortality; in: JAMA (published 09/27/2019),

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