By Dr. Maria Simbra

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A new study suggests being optimistic could help people live longer.

Hyami Koga says she tries to stay positive.

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“I think I’m more of a glass half full person,” she said. “I try to look at the bright side of life.”

“When comparing the most optimistic to the least optimistic women, people had a reduced risk of dying from cancer, infection, stroke, heart disease, and lung disease,” says Dr. Eric Kim of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

He and researchers there looked at data on 70,000 women over 8 years. The most optimistic women had a nearly 30 percent lower risk of dying.

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“It seems to have the most effect on cardiovascular outcomes and the smallest effect on cancer outcomes,” he adds.

Researchers say taking steps to boost your optimism might also lead to healthy behaviors and better coping skills. He says there are some easy ways to do that.

“One is called best possible self. So you think about your different domains of life, whether it’s your personal relationship your spouse, your career, your friendships, and in each of those domains you think about the best possible outcome.”

To increase optimism, you can also write down three things you are grateful for each night and make a list of the kind things you’ve done for others.

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Dr. Maria Simbra