Is it possible that optimist live longer than pessimist? It is more likely that if you have an optimistic explanatory style while you are young, you will be healthier for the rest of your life?
This is not an easy question to answer scientifically. It will not do to point to the legions of very old people and show that the majority are optimists. They may be optimist because they have lived long and been healthy, rather than the other way around. Happyho also provides best Meditation classes in Noida and Delhi NCR India area
Before we could answer this question, we have to answer several others. First we needed to find out if explanatory style is stable across a whole life time. If optimism while you are young is to affect your health into old age, it should be the case that your level of optimism lasts a life time. to investigate this Melanie Burn, a graduate student at the university, and I advertised in a senior citizens publication for people who still had diaries they kept when they were teenagers. About 30 responses were received and turned their diaries over to Mealine. She CAVEd (Content Analysis of Verbatim Explanations) them, creating a teenage explanatory style profile for each person. In addition, each volunteer wrote a long essay for us on his or her life now: his health, his family, his work. She CAVEd this as well and formed separate old age explanatory style profile. How did the two profiles relate?
She found that explanatory style for good events was completely changeable across fifty years. The same person could, for example, at one point in life regard good events as due to blind faith and at another time as due to his own skill. But she found that explanatory style for bad events was highly stable across a period of more than 50 years. The woman who as teenagers that the boys were not interested in them because they were unloveable wrote fifty years later that they were unloveable when their grand children did not visit. the way we look at the bad events – our theory of tragedy remains fixed across our life time.
This key finding moved her closer to the point she could ask the explanatory style of a young person affects health much later in life. What else did she need before she could ask this question. She needed a large group of individuals with certain characteristics :
- While young they had to have made a quantity of casual statements that had survived and could be “CAVEd”.
- She had to be sure that they have to be healthy and successful when they made these youthful pronouncement. This was necessary if they were already unhealthy, or already failures, it might have made them pessimistic as well as less healthy later. And if that were so, Optimism early in life would co relate with longer, healthier lives. but perhaps only because early ill health or early failure produces unhealthier lives. Hardly worth writing home about.
- She also needed subjects who had regular physical check ups so she could chart there health across their life span.
- Finally, she needed subjects quite old now, so where would be a lifetime of health to predict.