Optimism can lower the risk of dying
It all started back in 2002, with a scientific study finding 50-year-olds with a positive view about getting older lived seven years longer than those less optimistic about ageing. From there, positivity, a sense of wellbeing and being generally satisfied with life were shown to lower the risk of dying from any cause in a group of nearly 7,000 American men and women. And, according to a 2016 study, if you’re an optimistic, mature woman, you may have a lower risk of dying from any cause than your peers who don’t see the glass quite so full.
Look forward to retirement to enjoy it for LONGER
Other studies have shown that positive mental images about physical and psychological health in retirement (fit and healthy retirees socialising extensively and living life to the fullest, for instance) can lead to older adults living significantly longer than those with negative views (retirees with poor health and less social contact, for instance). Up to five years longer in fact.
Importantly, the results in all of these studies held true after removing the impact of other factors that can influence longevity like gender, age, socioeconomics and existing health conditions. In some studies, even health behaviours like diet and physical activity were found to play a lesser role than positive thoughts in extending lifespan.
It may not be too good to be true
It seems positivity about life in general, getting older and retirement leads us to act healthier and be more social – factors that have also been linked to longevity. Positivity also seems to help counteract the emotional and even physical harm negative feelings cause, and equip us with enduring resources (physical, social and psychological) that we can draw on when things get tough. Lastly, it seems perception can truly become reality – if you think you’ll be healthy, happy and independent in retirement, you may very well be.
Want to capture this mental fountain of youth?
Though thinking positively can lead to positive behaviour, sometimes it might be a matter of just diving in. And, here are some tips to get you started.
Daily moderate exercise has obvious physical benefits and can also improve your overall mental health and foster a positive attitude towards life, retirement and ageing.
Whether you decide to learn a musical instrument, master a new language or draw up a whole bucket list, working towards a clear objective can give you a sense of purpose.
Is now the time to get on financial track?
Financial stress can be a major contributor to a negative mindset, and ensuring your pennies are in a row is crucial to making sure retirement is something to look forward to and enjoy. Sunsuper has a host of tools and services that can help you get on top, feel on top, and stay on top for when you call it a day.
Forecast the future
Our retirement forecaster can project what could be waiting for you in the future.
Get your super sorted
Our qualified financial advisers1 can answer simple questions about your super over the phone, or tailor a plan to get your super on track through the SunTracker program.
Seek personal advice
And if you need a full plan covering your total financial situation, we can put you in touch with an accredited external financial adviser2 near you.
Just call us on 13 11 84 to get started
This article summarises the results of the following scientific studies. It is general in nature and doesn’t guarantee longevity outcomes. You should always seek the advice of a medical professional if you are concerned about your health.
Xu, J and Roberts, R, 2010, The power of positive emotions: it’s a matter of life or death, American Psychological Association. Ng, R, Allore, H, Monin, J and Levy, B, 2016, Retirement as meaningful: positive retirement stereotypes associated with longevity, Journal of Social Issues. Lakra, D, Ng, R, Levy, B, 2012, Increased longevity from viewing retirement positively, Ageing and Society. Kim, E, Hagan, K, Grodstein, F, DeMeo, D, De Vivo, I and Kubzansky, L, 2016, Optimism and cause-specific mortality: a prospective cohort study, American Journal of Epidemiology. Levy, B and Slade, M, 2002, Longevity increased by positive self-perceptions of aging, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
1. Our phone based qualified financial planners provide simple advice about your Sunsuper account at no additional cost. More comprehensive advice may incur a fee. Sunsuper employees provide advice as representatives of Sunsuper Financial Services Pty Ltd (ABN 50 087 154 818 AFSL No. 227867) (SFS), wholly owned by the Sunsuper Superannuation Fund.
2. Sunsuper has established a panel of accredited external financial planners for our members. Sunsuper does not receive or pay any referral fees to these planners. Each of these planners will explain to you how their advice fees are determined. The accredited external financial planners are not employed by Sunsuper, and Sunsuper is not responsible for the advice provided by these planners.