Mortality rate

Optimism Is a Skill That Can Be Learned

Article Image

The health benefits to being an optimist are well established and substantial. Having a positive mental attitude can help you lead a more stable, less stressful emotional life, have stronger coping strategies and better health, with quicker recovery time from illnesses and lower mortality rates.

Optimists are also more well liked socially (at least in American society) and are better at initiating and maintaining interpersonal relationships.

So if being an optimist is so good for you, can avowed pessimists—people who don’t feel too peachy about the future—change their outlook?

This article is part of The Hope and Optimism initiative. Explore the theoretical, empirical, and practical dimensions of hope, optimism, and related states: — Why Hopefulness Is a Greater Predictor of Academic Success than Intelligence

In a 2010 paper, the seminal positive psychologist Michael Scheier concludes that several behavioral therapies that can individuals transition to having a more optimistic viewpoint. The therapies work by getting people out of negative thinking patterns, especially patterns that prevent them from reaching their objectives.

“The logic behind these techniques is that people sometimes have patterns of negative cognitive distortions. Certain kinds of negative thoughts foster negative affect and lead people to stop trying to reach their goals. We would imagine the interior monologue of the pessimist is filled with such negativity. This class of therapies aims to make the cognitions more positive, thereby reducing distress and fostering renewed effort toward desired ends,” write the researchers.

The Science of Optimism: How Your Outlook Predicts Your Lifespan William Magee

Play Video

Play

Mute

Current Time 0:00

/

Duration Time 0:00

Loaded: 0%

Progress: 0%

Stream TypeLIVE

Remaining Time -0:00

Playback Rate

1

  • Chapters

Chapters

  • descriptions off, selected

Descriptions

  • subtitles off, selected

Subtitles

  • captions settings, opens captions settings dialog
  • captions off, selected

Captions

Audio Track

Fullscreen

This is a modal window.

Caption Settings Dialog

Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.

TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaque

Font Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%

Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadow

Font FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall…

Global access to quality health care has improved in the last two decades

map of countries
HEALTH CARE PALETTE Countries shaded with cooler hues had better health care quality and accessibility in 2015 than those with hotter colors. Researchers created the Healthcare Access and Quality Index to assess each country’s status.

Health care quality and availability improved globally from 1990 to 2015, but the gap between the haves and the have-nots widened in those 25 years, researchers report online May 18 in The Lancet.

As an approximate measure of citizens’ access to quality health care, an international team of researchers analyzed mortality rates for 32 diseases and injuries that are typically not fatal when effective medical care is available. The team…

Antibiotics Raise Mortality Risk for Honeybees, Study Finds

Efforts to protect honeybees may be doing more harm than good. Scientists say the antibiotics routinely administered by beekeepers wipe out beneficial bacteria in the bees’ guts, making them vulnerable to other pathogens. They published their findings in the journal PLOS Biology.

These are hard days for honeybees, and apiarists are doing all they can to keep their charge healthy and safe. Twice a year in North America, Asia, and parts of Europe, many beekeepers dose their hives with preventative antibiotics. The drugs may be dusted on the hive or added to the bees’ food to ensure that each insect gets its medicine.

But, as we’re learning in humans, blanket treatment with antibiotics is not really a great option. The more antibiotics we use, the faster pathogens develop antibiotic resistance, and the drugs kill helpful bacteria along with the harmful stuff they’re meant to treat.

Scientists wondered if the same was true for bees. To find out, they brought about 800 bees from long-established hives into the laboratory and split the bees into two groups: the treatment group, marked with a dot of pink paint, and the control group, marked with a…