“Is the glass half full or half empty?” has been a very commonly asked question to determine a person’s outlook towards life and the situations they face. While those who perceive the glass as ‘half-full’ have been categorised as the optimists, others, who view the glass ‘half-empty’ is categorised as the pessimists.
It has also been noted that optimism is contagious, and when one person is positive about a situation, they are likely to make other people feel positive, too. A recent study has, however, also found that optimism is not just contagious, but also healthy.
According to the American Stroke Association, optimistic stroke survivors had lower levels of inflammation, less severity of the stroke, less physical disability, as compared to the less optimistic survivors. Previous studies have also linked optimism with positive health outcomes for other medical conditions.
Recovery from surgery
According to a study, patients with self-efficacy and optimism were found to have better recovery from surgery and other serious orthopaedic problems, as compared to people who were not as optimistic. Rehabilitation for such people has also been easier when they are optimistic, according to the research.
Better lifestyle choices
Another study assessed if optimism was related to factors that determine healthy ageing, and a healthy lifestyle. The results of the study found that optimism was associated with not smoking, moderate alcohol consumption, and more physical activity. Self-rated health was also positively related to optimism, according to the study.
Optimism is healthy for the heart
According to one study, doctors evaluated patients who had to undergo coronary artery bypass surgery. These patients underwent a psychological evaluation designed to measure optimism, depression, neuroticism, and self-esteem.
When the patients were tracked six months after the surgery, it was found that optimists were only half as likely in the need for re-hospitalization, as compared to the pessimists. Another study also found that pessimists were three times more likely to get a heart attack during a 6-month recovery period from surgery.
Optimism helps you live longer
As optimism improves overall health, you are likely to live longer by that connection. However, even research has found that optimism can help you live longer.
According to one study, when people were evaluated in the early 1960s, and then after 30 years, optimism was linked with the longevity of life. Another study found that pessimist patients died of various causes, including cancer, and pessimism had a big role to play in it.