Studies suggest that positive individuals may outlive their pessimistic counterparts by as much as ten years. This amazing benefit is greater than that achieved by losing weight, reducing cholesterol, controlling blood pressure, or taking vitamin supplements. I’m not suggesting that you forget about healthy living. It just so happens that positive, optimistic people are more likely to have healthy living habits.
Does this benefit only apply to people who were “born this way” or do we have the ability to become more optimistic, happier – more positive? Twin studies (comparing identical to non-identical twins) suggest that genes account for about 50% of our happiness levels. Other genetic studies show that genetic coding for the oxytocin receptor are associated with the personality trait of optimism. However, these genetic differences only predict a person’s susceptibility to become pessimistic when encountering certain types of stress. Your final disposition is still, in large part, up to you.