I came across an interesting article about the value of optimism
Mounting research evidence shows that optimisim could extend your life. The latest study comes from Wageningen University in the Netherlands. For 999 elderly Dutch men and women, agreement with statements such as “I still have many goals to strive for” was highly predictive for longevity. When subjects were traced nine years after being surveyed, death rates of optimistic men were 63 percent lower than those of their pouty peers; for women, optimism reduced the rate by 35 percent
It occurs to me, if you’re optimistic the extra years provided are going to be a lot more enjoyable for yourself and those around you. My experience of elderly pessimists is that they can be quite hard work.
The article continues with good news for pessimists
Fortunately, pessimists can learn to look on the bright side. In a study by Seligman, pessimistic college students randomly subscribed to optimism workshops subsequently had fewer visits to their school’s health services department and lower rates of depression and anxiety than classmates with no happiness classes
Scientific American Mind, February/March 2006
Sadly, the article did not elaborate on what goes on in an ‘optimism workshop’. I’d love to know, even though I doubt it would work … oops … perhaps I need to sign up!