Research suggests that optimistic individuals are more likely to live a healthier and longer life. However, more longitudinal studies are necessary to learn more about when, why, how, and for whom optimism plays a role in good health and whether interventions that enhance optimism will yield health benefits. We urge a skeptical yet fair-minded attitude on the part of researchers and that they pay particular attention to mechanisms.
Even if optimism proves not to be a strong cause of good health, freedom from disease and longevity are not the only goals of life. Quality of life matters in addition to quantity of life, and it is clear from research that optimism enhances one’s quality of life across the lifespan with little cost and minimal side effects.