A positive attitude can improve your immune system and may help you live longer, according to a University of Queensland study.
The research, published in the journal Psychology and Aging, found that older people who focused on the positive were more likely to have stronger immune systems.
Psychologist Elise Kalokerinos says positive attitude plays an important role in healthy ageing.
“Despite the fact that people often think of late life as a period of doom and gloom, older people are often more positive than younger people,” Dr Kalokerinos says.
“Our research suggests that this focus on the positive may help older people protect their declining health.”
The study involved following 50 adults, aged 65-90 years, across two years.
Dr Kalokerinos says study participants who remembered more positive than negative images also showed better immune functioning up to two years later.
“By selectively remembering the positive, older adults seem to boost their immune functioning just when they need it the most,” she says.
“We already know that happiness provides a range of health benefits and this research shows that focusing on positive information may have the same effect for older people.
“A person who focuses on positive information over negative information may be better able to cope with stressful situations, may take a more positive long-term outlook on life, and may maintain positive social interactions, thus reaping the immune benefits.”
She says the findings raise the possibility that humans have evolved to become more positive
late in life in order to enhance their own longevity.
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