The People Pro® Blog

Can A Bad Attitude Kill You?

By Barbara Bartlein

We all know that stress is not good for our health but can our attitude kill us?  Dr. Hilary Tindle, a physician and researcher at Vanderbilt University, has conducted a massive study that points to the power of just being hopeful.

Tindle analyzed data from 97,253 women who had filled out questionnaires for the National Institutes of Health's Women's Health Initiative, trying to correlate hopefulness and mortality.  Women who had scored high on optimism--being hopeful about the future-had significantly lower rates of heart diease, cancare and mortality than women who scored high on pessimism.

The study also focused on cynicism, described as feelings of pessimism about other people.  Women with lower cynicism, compared with those who viewed most other people with suspicion, had lower risk of death.  

In a previous study by Dr. Tindle, she compared more than 430 people who had coronary bypass surgery--284 of whom were diagnosed with clinical depression and 146 of whom were not.  Within eight months of the surgery, the depressed pessimists had more than twice the complication and rehoispitalization rate than the optimistic group.

While not always easy to change, an investment in your attitude can pay dividends with better health and a longer and happier life.  Start with the basics;  good food, exercise, sleep and positive people in your life.  Do activities that "tune up" your attitude.  These include great music, art, reading, and getting out to nature.  You will be amazed how much better you feel.  And remember, enjoy each day and you just may get more of them.

For more information on attitude, see Energy Suckers, Barb's new book.

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