Does seeing the glass half full mean you will be healthier later in life? A growing body of evidence suggests that positive thinking does correlate with less illness and longer lives. And, if you’re already older, having a positive outlook appears to be especially important.
A new study has found that older people who feel good about aging are more likely than those who hold negative stereotypes to recover after suffering from disability.
Researchers at the Yale School of Public Health showed that, of two groups with different views of aging, the people who felt good about older people were 44 percent more likely to recover from a severe disability than those with negative views.
The findings by lead researcher Becca R. Levy and her Yale colleagues suggest that initiatives to promote positive age stereotypes could allow people to live independently later in life.
“This result suggests that how the old view their aging process could have an effect on how they experience it,” noted Levy, director of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Division at the School of Public Health.
Recovery from disability in the new study was equated with being able to perform four routine activities: bathing, dressing, moving from a chair and walking. Doing well in these things is associated with longer life expectancy and lower use of healthcare facilities.
In general, studies show that people who maintain a positive attitude tend to make healthier lifestyle choices. According to a Mayo Clinic study, people with a positive attitude get more physical activity, follow a healthier diet and have lower rates of smoking and alcohol consumption.
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