There is a growing body of evidence that having a positive attitude does a body good. According to the Mayo Clinic website, the benefits of positive thinking include an increased life span, lower rates of depression, lower levels of distress, greater resistance to the common cold, better psychological and physical well-being, a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and better coping skills during hardships and times of stress.
Much research specific to attitudes about aging has been conducted, as well. One study, conducted at North Carolina State University and published this year in The Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, suggests that people who had more positive attitudes toward aging dealt better with stress than people with negative attitudes. Another, titled “Negative perceptions of aging modify the association between frailty and cognitive function in older adults”and published in Personality and Individual Differences, found that a positive attitude toward aging may help prevent older adults from becoming frail.
Why having a positive outlook is beneficial to health is unclear. It may have to do with better stress management; it could be that positive thinkers are more likely to be active and health conscious. What is clear is that looking on the bright side and expecting good things to happen are worthwhile endeavors that benefit body, mind and spirit for a lifetime.