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German Study Shows Pessimists Live Longer

2 min read

By Jim Greene

Contrary to the popular Monty Python ditty, always looking on the bright side of life will not ensure a longer one.

A new study out of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany, has found that pessimists, or those who have realistic expectations about life, actually live longer, healthier lives.

The research analyzed data from 1993 to 2003, was derived from the national German Socio-Economic Panel, an annual household survey of 40,000. The findings showed that overall, pessimistic (or more grounded) individuals were 10-percent more likely to have longer and healthier lives.

“Our findings revealed that being overly optimistic in predicting a better future was associated with a greater risk of disability and death within the following decade,” says Professor Frieder R. Lang, from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.  “Pessimism about the future may encourage people to live more carefully, taking health and safety precautions.”

Lang also pointed out that even though a realistic approach to life is proven to actually help you live longer—this study doesn’t undermine that fact that during tragic or stressful times, optimism does help us prevail.

“These findings shed new light on how our perspectives can either help or hinder [our] actions…[and] help improve our chances of a long healthy life,” he says.

Source: National Post

Jim Greene


Jim has spent the last 5 years writing for a variety of health-related websites. At Activebeat, James is an essential member of the editorial team, providing information on exercise, diet & nutrition and men’s health – among many other things.

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