Optimists Walk Faster: Pessimists Die Younger

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA


Shirley Temple was onto something in the movie, Little Miss Broadway when she sang: “Be Optimistic, Don’t you Be a Mourner, Brighten Up That Corner and Smile; Smile and Be Happy!”  Ok, the part about just smiling is a little trite and too simplistic. However, studies do support the notion that optimism confers better levels of health and happiness.

Be Optimistic, Little Miss Broadway

If you want to live longer, happier, healthier, and maybe even wealthier, then take a look at the following Fun Fit Facts drawn from our reading of studies and surveys.  Pin them while you’re at it. Age actively knowing the benefits optimism brings.

If you want to know HOW to be more of an optimist, then click this link to see 8 ways to increase your happiness and optimistic outlook. Eeyores can become more like Tiggers with practice. (And with movement, imagine that!?)

optimists exercise

Optimists are also less likely to smoke, more likely to live with a spouse, and more likely to follow medical advice than pessimists.  (Question to self: what if my hubster is smokin’ cute and takes my advice? Will he live forever or will I? Things to ponder).

Feeling unhappy? You might be too young. Wait a few years, because people in their 60s report higher levels of happiness than those in their 30s and 40s. Surprised? I was.

happy with age



Optimistic walkers

Turns out that pessimists are correct: life is harder for them. Those with a low sense of well-being (associated with pessimism) are more than three times as likely to experience problems in performing daily activities. Pessimists over 50 also tend to die younger than others their same age who enjoy life more.

Up the scale

If you tend more to the pessimistic side of life, don’t get down on yourself. Blame your parents! Have them blame their parents. Yes, genes predispose some people to optimism. Some of us are simply born sunnier side up.  Even if you were born with hard boiled tendencies, you can move to the optimistic camp. If you need a boost of optimism and happiness, maybe buy a plane ticket. (And read our post on ways to shift to the O perspective).  Apparently travel holds the top spot for enhancing happiness among women up to age 59 and second place for those in their 60s. Guess what women over 60 rated as the number one method for feeling happier? Spending time with friends.

That sounds good to me! In fact, traveling with friends sounds really enticing. I am off to sing the rest of the Shirley Temple song:  Be Optimistic: Don’t You Be a Grumpy; When the Road Gets Bumpy, Just Smile, Smile and Be Happy!”

We are optimistic that you will find value and nirvana when you:

1) Follow us on Google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit.

2) Pick up the phone or email us to book us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

Photos Credits: taken by me, Kymberly.



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