It sounds like it should be true and now some research presented recently by Christopher Jacobi, of the University of Oxford at the British Sociological Association’s Medical Sociology conference has proved that it is.
The survey of nearly 29,000 peoples’ mental health and medical records finds that one personality trait is consistently linked to longer life.
According to the study people live longer if they are more positive and those who scored in the top sixth for being positive were 18% less likely to die over the next four years. Being positive encompassed being optimistic about the future, closer socially to other people, and feeling altogether more decisive, useful and relaxed.
Other factors, such as religious belief and income, did not have a statistically significant effect on the chance of dying although the study found that marriage and education were also contributory factors to longer life.
Jacobi told the conference, that
“the results indicate that better positive mental health seems to have a somewhat protective effect against mortality.”
“In research literature the most frequently stated ways in which positive mental health is likely to affect mortality are via direct physiological responses such as lowered blood pressure, capacity to cope with stress, less drinking and smoking, an active lifestyle, and better sleep quality.”
“Likewise, people with high positive mental health might not be affected as severely by potentially negative symptomatic and physiological effects of life events like divorce or unemployment.”
Away from Mr Jacobi’s study it has been proven that people that are mentally tougher adopt a more positive outlook and can actively manage the effects of stress and change more than those that aren’t. As a result it seems that the people with greater mental strength and fitness can face life more positively and live for longer. Bring it on !
Contact Mental Toughness Partners to learn more on how to become mentally tougher and building mentally tougher organisations.