Gianni! Tonino Guerra was right!
A team from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), and Harvard School of Public Health, concluded later a long search that people with great optimism live longer. Long enough to achieve "exceptional longevity," averaging over 85 years of life.
What is optimism
For a good report on the research, it is necessary to take a step back. Optimism is in fact a general expectation of good things, or a favorable future.
The study was based on 69.744 women and 1429 men. Both groups completed questionnaires to assess their degree of optimism, their state of health, theirs psyche and their habits on alcohol, smoking and diet.
What is striking is the time frame of this research, truly enormous: for women it covers the span of 10 years, for men even 30 years. On average, more optimistic women and men have a longer life expectancy of 11% to 15%, with a percentage between 50% and 70% higher reaching 85 years.
The results were obtained by averaging the data with those relating to different ages and demographic factors such as education, chronic disorders, depression and more.
“Although research has in the past identified several risk factors related to premature death. We know much less about the psychosocial factors that promote healthy behaviors, " explains Lewina Lee, PhD, clinical psychologist at the National Center for PTSD in Boston. “This research will have a strong relevance because it suggests that optimism is a very powerful psychosocial factor in extending our life expectancy. Also because optimism can be 'trained' and increased with relatively simple and long-known techniques and therapies ".
We don't know exactly why
It is not clear how optimism leads to a longer life. "Other ongoing or completed research has shown that optimistic people generally regulate behaviors and emotions better, addressing difficulties with more personalities," adds Laura Kubzansky, professor of social and behavioral sciences at Harvard. "The next step is to understand the exact correlation between longevity and optimism, but it is already extraordinary to have understood beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a correlation."