+
Health

Optimistic women are more likely to live past 90, study finds

They also found living longer transcends race and ethnicity.

longevity, long life, women, old age
Photo by Robin Noguier on Unsplash

Who knew optimism was the key to a longer life?

There's something to be said for having a positive outlook on life. Optimism may not only make you happier, it can also help you live longer. Yes, you're reading that correctly: Being optimistic can actually add years to your life. A study done by researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found a correlation between lifespan and optimism in women. The authors discovered that optimistic women had a longer lifespan, many living past the age of 90.

In a previous version of this study, data showed the correlation between living past the age of 85 and higher levels of optimism. But that study looked at a mostly white people. This later study expanded the pool of participants to include more people from diverse backgrounds.



In this version of the study, the research team looked at data from 159, 255 participants from the Women’s Health Initiative. The group included women between the ages of 50 and 79 (specifically postmenopausal women). The women had to fall into that age bracket between 1993 and 1998, then they were followed for 26 years.

“Although optimism itself may be affected by social structural factors, such as race and ethnicity, our research suggests that the benefits of optimism may hold across diverse groups,” Hayami Koga, a Ph.D. student in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Population Health Sciences program in partnership with Harvard Chan School, and lead author of the study said in a press release.

According to the press release, the study "found no interaction between optimism and any categories of race and ethnicity, and these trends held true after taking into account demographics, chronic conditions, and depression."

“A lot of previous work has focused on deficits or risk factors that increase the risks for diseases and premature death. Our findings suggest that there’s value to focusing on positive psychological factors, like optimism, as possible new ways of promoting longevity and healthy aging across diverse groups," Koga said.

Think about it. There's a lot to be said about positive thinking—it's not always easy to do, and yes, toxic positivity is a very real thing. But reframing your way of thinking to allow for more positivity clearly isn't a bad thing. Will it allow you to transcend things like structural racism, discrimination and other legitimate life barriers? Absolutely not. It will, however, give you a stronger foundation to pull from when those things start to make you weary.

I don't know if there's a way to teach people to be optimistic without it feeling hokey. However, if you tell someone, "Hey, this could put years on your life clock," they might be more interested. Koga believes that the findings of this study can allow people to look at how they approach their health.

As the study reveals, a lot of the factors that contribute to longevity that we traditionally think of, such as diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes, don't seem to hold as much weight compared to an optimistic outlook. According to the study's findings, lifestyle choices "accounted for less than a quarter of the optimism-lifespan association," and more than half of the women in the group (53%) achieved "exceptional longevity." It defines exceptional longevity as living 90 years or longer. When compared to the least optimistic participants, the optimistic women had a 5.4% longer lifespan. According to the CDC, as of 2020, the average life expectancy for women is 80.5 years. So those who have a more optimistic outlook might live 10 years longer than the current average lifespan. That definitely gives you something to think about!

“We tend to focus on the negative risk factors that affect our health,” Koga said. “It is also important to think about the positive resources such as optimism that may be beneficial to our health, especially if we see that these benefits are seen across racial and ethnic groups.”

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
Keep ReadingShow less