How a Positive Outlook Will Boost Your Longevity

It’s not considered ultra-cool to be an optimist in today’s culture. Too much pep comes off as naïveté and we’re just one motivational poster away from self-implosion. But do you know what is cool? Living for a long time, with mobility, good circulation, and all your cognitive faculties. Numerous scientific, long-term studies have shown that this goes hand in hand with an optimistic outlook on life.

The core difference for why optimists consistently outlive pessimists has to do with how each type copes with adversity. The former engages with their stress and takes action, while the later is less likely to seek positive change, and more likely to disengage with or deny problems.

It’s not just psychological either, your outlook on life is evident on a cellular level. In this talk for Hope & Optimism, Professor Michael Scheier describes some of these health-damaging and health-promoting behaviors, and provides a list of ways pessimism can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health. Optimism is something you can learn, and knowing it can keep you in good health for longer is all the motivation you need to break negative thinking patterns.

Michael Scheier is Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Director of Pittsburgh Mind-Body Center. This video was filmed at the Los Angeles Hope Festival, a collaboration between Big Think and Hope & Optimism, a three-year initiative which supported interdisciplinary academic research into significant questions that remain under-explored.