Positive emotions key to good health in old age

January 21st, 2011 - 9:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 21 (IANS) Positive emotions can keep stress, pain and illness at bay.There are several ways in which a positive attitude can protect against poor health later in life.

For example, happier people might take a proactive approach to ageing by regularly exercising and budgeting time for a good night’s sleep, the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science reports.

Alternately, these people may avoid unhealthy behaviours, such as smoking and risky sex, according to a Cornell University (US) statement.

The benefits of these healthy lifestyle choices may become more important in older adults as their bodies become more susceptible to diseases.

An optimistic outlook has also been shown to combat stress - a known risk factor for a lot of diseases.

Studies have found that people with stronger positive emotions have lower levels of chemicals associated with inflammation related to stress.

Anthony Ong, developmental psychologist at Cornell, who led the study, said: “We all age. It is how we age, however, that determines the quality of our lives.”

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