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Study says optimists more likely to live longer

According to the Daily Mail, researchers from Boston University stated that optimists tend to live longer than those with a more pessimistic view of life.

The researchers came to this conclusion after monitoring the attitudes and lives of 69,744 women and 1,500 men.

The women (aged 58 to 86) were surveyed for ten years and the men (aged 41 to 90) tracked for 30 years. During this period, the researchers asked them a series of questions to determine if their outlook on life was negative or positive.

They concluded that on average men with the most optimistic view extended their lives an additional 11% and women 15% when compared to their negative counterparts.

They also found that optimists were more likely to hit 85 years of age with 70% more men and 50% more women reaching that age.

Their findings were published in the journal entitled “Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences.”

According to the researchers, optimistic people were defined as those who believed “the future will be pleasant because one can control important outcomes.”

While pessimists tended to look at life as hopeless and beyond a person’s ability to change.

Though the researchers found that optimistic people were less likely to suffer from depression or have “type 2 diabetes,” even if they did have these issues they still outlived their pessimistic opposites.

Though our childhood and life situations can potentially impact our outlook on life, a person’s faith in God will push them towards a more optimistic perspective.

The Bible tells us that God will work all things together for good. The verse suggests that God will even use the negative circumstances as the building blocks for the good that will come from it (Romans 8:28).

But it is a promise that must be claimed by faith, we need to change our negative opinion and choose to believe God.

That optimism and pessimism conflict was on full display after Moses sent 12 men to spy out the promised land, before the Hebrews entered. During that undercover operation, the group encountered the Nephilim:

33 There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

(Numbers 13:33 NASV)

But notice how 10 of the spies described this encounter, they said we were like grasshoppers in our own sight. They saw themselves as grasshoppers and completely incapable of beating these giants. Then after pessimistically mocking their abilities, they added that they must have looked like grasshoppers to the Nephilim as well.

The spies were beat by their negative thinking before they were beaten by the Nephilim as they allowed this pessimism to define who they were.

Now we need to understand the Hebrews had been beaten down and treated as slaves by the Egyptians for several decades. Their perspective on life undoubtedly had a negative bend to it.

But Caleb, along with Joshua, had grown up as slaves as well, but rather to succumb to their circumstances chose to believe it was possible:

“We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.”

(Numbers 13:30 NASV)

They both chose to believe God and later God described Caleb as a man having a different spirit (Numbers 14:24). That different spirit involved optimism and faith.

Perhaps it is just a coincidence, but as I stated earlier, the Boston researchers noted that it was 70% more likely for an optimistic man to live to 85 than one who was negative. Because this was exactly Caleb’s age when the Hebrews entered the Promised Land the second time under Joshua, as the ever optimistic and believing Caleb claimed his mountain:

. 10 Now behold, the Lord has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. 11 I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. 12 Now then, give me this hill country about which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the Lord will be with me, and I will [e]drive them out as the Lord has spoken.”

(Joshua 14:10-12 NASV)


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