Why science backs optimists

Want to live longer? Invest in a pair of rose-tinted glasses and boost your optimism. In the past it’s been reported that optimism can impair your health (and business), which as an incurable optimist I’ve found incredibly hard to fathom. However, a recent study has concluded that thinking positively keeps your heart healthy.

Image by Claire Jones

Conducted at the University of Illinois, the study examined more than 5,100 adults, and found that people who have upbeat outlooks and a positive approach in life have remarkably better cardiovascular health. Perhaps this is why my family is fortunate to have a happy history of living long!

Leading the study, Professor Rosalba Hernandez, said that those with optimism at its highest levels have two times the odds of being in supreme cardiovascular health against their pessimistic counterparts, and that optimists have remarkably better cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Image by Take Aim Photography

I’ve always been optimistic about optimism. In the early days of Virgin, I was nicknamed ‘Dr Yes’ by the team in a friendly dig at my eagerness to always try new things. Optimism has paid off in dividends for our business. Throughout the Virgin journey, many of our most successful ventures have been driven by optimism. I cannot count the times we said yes when we were told by the experts to say no. 

Image from Virgin.com

Those times weren’t easy and it was rarely smooth sailing. But it’s now great to hear that stress caused could be counteracted by the positive thinking that prompted the projects in the first place.

Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts on optimism with me on my blog. I particularly enjoyed hearing from Angie Miles, who explained: “Optimism takes courage and strength, because it is an act of defiance in the face of status quo, mediocrity and reality… Vision, perseverance and grit. These are the hallmarks of the optimist who gets things done.” 

Image from Virgin.com

Optimism spurs positivity. People thrive in positive environments. Happy people are confident people, and confident people make things happen. So alongside the healthy foods, gym memberships and time spent with your loved ones, make sure you add a dose of optimism to your life. Not only will it keep your relationships, business and brain happy, but your heart too. 

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