Optimist or Pessimist
Would you call yourself an optimist or pessimist? Honestly! When you consider your answer, consider if you believe life is full of possibilities and you still have goals that you have been working on for quite some time. Chances are, that if you answered yes to those situations, you are more of an optimist than a pessimist. Good for you!
How about an important science lesson. If you are this type of person, not only do people like being around you, but you are scientifically more likely to live longer. Science shows that having a more positive outlook on life, is good for your health. This type of future hope, can actually give you a different view of life, now and eternally.
Interleukin 6 is one of a number of stress hormones. It is a necessary part of our immune response, but if it runs rogue, it can lead to a whole bunch of problems. In increased amounts, it can cause chronic inflammation, heart and autoimmune problems, just to name a few. Optimistic people have lower levels of Interleukin 6, compared with pessimistic people.
Pessimistic people are getting hammered by Interleukin 6 and other stress hormones in a big way, with lower immunity at all levels. Pessimists are also prone to chronic illness that optimists avoid. Therefore, optimists live longer and healthier.
If you are optimistic, you are 55% less likely to die from any cause. You are 23% less likely to die of heart problems. This alone should be enough to encourage all of us to see the glass as half full.
How you see other people also makes a big difference beyond just being happy or sad within your thinking. There has been a new term created, that relates to all of this. It has become known as “cynical hostility”. This is different from pessimism. You can think your life is pretty rosy, but you’re cynical or hostile to others.
This is about people that are only concerned with their own well-being and lack compassion of others. We might call this type of person, selfish. Top universities, like Harvard, are asking the question: are pessimistic attitudes shrinking our life span. If you are like me you have seen these attitudes increasing at an alarming rate.
With all the recent medical advances, we are seeing the life expectancy, in the United States, decline for the first time since the early 90’s. The real question is: Could pessimism, along with cynical hostility, be playing a part of the loss of longevity? Science seems to be saying yes.
While the Bible says laughter is good medicine (Proverbs 17:22), so is kindness, compassion, joyful attitudes, believing the best about others, service to others, by assistance, and providing for others’ needs. 2 Peter 1:5-8 says, in part: “…make every effort to add to your faith goodness … godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.” Within the “fruits of the spirit”, in Galatians 5:22-23, kindness, goodness and gentleness are crucial.
When a person can develop their own passion and take care of other people, this will boost optimism. We can practice this every day of our lives. The ransomed of the Lord are to say so and everlasting joy will be upon their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them and sorrow and sighing will flee away. (Isaiah 51:11)
This will all feed the positive area of your life and affect the physical chemistry of your body. It will make you healthier and cause you to have more friends, as people enjoy being in your presence.
Do you notice that is lines-up with the formula of a Godly life? Christian action and livelihood should show these characteristics and could be one aspect of how God intended to increase the years of our lives. At least that’s the way I see it. Let’s all work on this, for the Kingdom of God.