If you declare that you are well, then you have a reasonable chance of being really well for a long, long time. A new study from psychologists at the Universityof Zurich shows that volunteers who reported that they are satisfied with the state of their health, have much lower risk of death than those who reported that their health is not good.
Positive thinking heals
These results seemed to be valid even when taken into account other factors that affect longevity, such as smoking, chronic diseases and high blood pressure. These new findings reinforce those of previous studies, according to which positive thinking “heals” the organism.
The study of specialists from Zurich began in the decade of 1970 and included more than 8,000 volunteers. The participants were asked to rate their own level of health and then were submitted to various medical checks.
Three decades later the testing was repeated and the researchers saw that the volunteers who had given positive responses about their health were more likely to live longer than those who had given negative answers.
The leader of the research group David Fäh from the University of Zurich noted: “Our results show that people who believe that their health is in a good state are likely to have features that help them maintain a good level of health or even improve it. These features include a positive attitude about life, an optimistic look at things and a fundamental level of satisfaction with life“.
Increased risk of death in both sexes
The study showed that men who described their health as “very bad” were 3.3 times more likely to have died over three decades compared with those who describe their health as “very good”.
In women, the probability of death was 1.9 times bigger in those who reported that they didn’t feel well compared with those who reported that they felt wonderful.
This study is the first long-term research showing connection between the estimation made by the person on his health and the incurred mortality risk.
The researchers emphasize that their findings reinforce the broad definition given to the concept of health by the World Health Organization, according to which “health is not merely the absence of disease but is a combination of social, mental and physical well-being”.