Being optimistic about the future is linked to fewer memory problems and better problem solving and judgement.
The new research on people aged over 65 is the latest scientific endorsement of an optimistic outlook.
Optimism has already been linked to eating better and exercising more.
People who are more optimistic are also less likely to suffer heart attacks and strokes.
One way to increase optimism is to try writing about your ‘best possible self’.
This exercise has been shown to increase optimism.
The conclusions come from a national survey by the US National Institute of Aging.
Ms Katerina Gawronski, the study’s first author, said:
“We felt like this was an important topic to investigate and to our knowledge, it’s the first study to examine the link between optimism and cognitive impairment in older adults.
We found that optimism was indeed associated with better cognitive health over time.”
Mr Eric Kim, the study’s co-author, said:
“Therefore, optimism may be a novel and promising target for prevention and intervention strategies aimed at improving cognitive health,”
The study was published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine (Gawronski et al., 2016).
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Image credit: annamo