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Optimists Stay Healthier as they Grow Older

January 11, 2019

While those who see the glass as half-full seem happier, a new study shows they’re actually healthier, too.

According to a survey of 7,000 people between the ages of 50 and 90 conducted by researchers at University College London, people who felt their lives had meaning walked faster, had stronger grips, and even suffered less pain than their Debbie Downer counterparts.

The Daily Mail reports that one key to feeling that your life has meaning seems to be social engagement. Those who judged their life worthwhile were more commonly married, versus those who saw their lives through a darker lens. Those folks spent almost twice as much time on their own compared to their happier counterparts -- more than six hours by their lonesome -- and also spent watching 50 more minutes of TV a day.

Those who judged their lives meaningful also see their friends frequently -- 13% more than those who weren’t as happy -- and remain engaged in group activities like church groups, neighborhood watch associations, and other organizations.

The University’s lead author Professor Andrew Steptoe noted, “Finding meaning when you are sitting on your own is quite tricky, since for most people, this is linked to their relationships.”

“We were struck by how important this feeling of meaning was, with people who saw their lives as meaningful being much more healthy as well as being socially engaged.”

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