Good news, optimists: your glass-half-full attitude has some major benefits to your health and happiness, just as you cheerily always assumed would be the case. Pessimist? Before you grumble “I knew it,” read on—there’s a bright side to always looking on the overcast side. Unfortunately.
PESSIMISTS HAVE BETTER RELATIONSHIPS
Optimist couples may seem disgustingly happy with each other all the time, but it’s pessimists who may actually have stronger relationships. Research suggests that optimism can be a “liability” in relationships, keeping couples from being pro-active when it comes to problem-solving. One study even found that couples who force themselves to stay optimistic during a rough spot in their marriages are doing more harm than good. Pessimists, on the other hand, have low expectations going into a marriage and experience more success and satisfaction as a result.
OPTIMISTS HAVE BETTER HEART HEALTH
Optimists have twice the odds of being in ideal cardiovascular health, according to an 11-year study of over 5,000 adults. They also had better blood sugar levels and cholesterol. No wonder they’re so cheery all the time.
PESSIMISTS MAY LIVE LONGER
Heart health aside, there may still be a silver lining in never looking for the silver lining, at least according to one study of 40,000 Germans—pessimists who underestimated their future life satisfaction actually had a smaller risk of death within the 10-year study than optimists did. “Perceiving a dark future may foster positive evaluations of the actual self and may contribute to taking improved precautions,” the researchers wrote.