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Wisdom: Optimism and Health

Dr Carol Graham, Leo Pasvolsky senior fellow, Brookings Institution

“The link between optimism and longevity is strong.”

Pollyanna Lenkic, Leadership Expert and Coach

Optimismconnects us to a more constructive place both emotionally and physically. We see potential rather than obstacles."

Suzanne Segerstrom

"People who are optimistic are more committed to their goals, are more successful in achieving their goals, are more satisfied with their lives, and have better mental and physical health when compared to more pessimistic people" 

Danielle Guttman-Klein

“Optimism is truly the answer to so much of what is going on around the world.  The direct correlation between optimism and successful cancer treatment is becoming more real and scientifically proven,  Beyond all that, optimism makes life a better journey.”

Monique Tello, MD

“Optimism is as much as skill as a personality trait. You can train your brain to recognize and counteract negative thinking — your heart and health will be better for it."

Steve Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, The University of Kansas Health System Campus

“I’m anoptimist by nature. No pessimist gets anywhere.  It’s a dead road. So optimism is key in health care. People need to feel that positive energy.”

Serena FiaccoLaura Mernone & Ulrike Ehlert 

"Optimistic people generally have positive expectations about life and seem to recover faster from surgeries or acute disease."

in Psychobiological indicators of the subjectively experienced health status - findings from the Women 40+ Healthy Aging Study

    The Honourable James Guest

    "Optimism is the orientation for health and productivity"

    Margaret H. Greenberg,  coauthor “Profit from the Positive”

    “Don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Remember optimism isn’t the glass half-full; it is how we interpret both good and challenging events.“

    Catherine Barrett, Director of Celebrate Ageing.

    "Optimism is essential to healthy ageing and longevity. Research shows that people who internalise ageism or only think about their ageing as loss, live on average 7 years less than those who are optimistic and think about the positive aspects of their ageing. Optimism enables people to act in ways that are empowered – to continue to throw themselves into life with enthusiasm." 

    Jessica Stillman

    "Optimistic expectations about aging actually help us age happily and healthily."

    Lisa Bortolotti

    “Optimistic beliefs are good for our relationships and our health, even when they are not backed up by evidence, if they make us more resilient and resourceful agents"

    Jessica Cassity

    "Optimists Feel Healthier: If you think that the world is inherently good, and that life will work out in your favor, you're more likely to rate your own health and sense of well-being as better."

    MindUP™

    "Choosing to view life optimistically can increase our brain capacity! It relaxes our amygdala, creates chemical balance in our brains, and allows our prefrontal cortex to take charge"

    Dr John Medina, Author of “Brain Rules”

    “Optimism is not just emotional insulation against the freezing wastes of mortality. We now know that elders who have positive, even optimistic, attitudes toward their own aging live longer than those who don’t. What do I mean by optimistic aging? A twenty-five-year-old who forgets somebody’s name seldom considers it a harbinger of Alzheimer’s disease. But if you’re older and your memory transmission slips a gear, you might very well worry about Alzheimer’s. You may become stressed, even depressed. As other roadside attractions of age come into view—from hearing loss to aching joints—your attitude may turn increasingly pessimistic. The data say: don’t go there. Seniors who take it in stride, convincing themselves the glass is still half-full, live a healthy 7.5 years longer than seniors who don’t. Optimism exerts a measurable effect on their brain. The volume of their hippocampus doesn’t shrink nearly as much as the glass-half-empty crowd’s does. That’s an important finding. The hippocampus, a sea-horse structure located just behind your ears, is involved in a wide variety of cognitive functions, including memory. My guess is that dopamine levels are affected, too. These seniors avoid the trap of what would otherwise turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

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