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 about good events, 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 11% to 15% longer life expectancy, with a 50% to 70% higher rate of 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 healthful behavior," explains Lewina Lee, PhD, clinical psychologist at the National Center for PTSD in Boston. "This research will have a strong relevance because it makes it clear that optimism is a very powerful psychosocial factor to extend our life expectancy. Also because optimism can be 'trained' and increased with relatively simple techniques and therapies already known by time".
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."