Ever wondered how it is your optimistic friend always seems to be unfazed by stress? Scientists may have pinpointed a possible reason for why.
Researchers from Concordia University found that optimists' stress hormone levels remain more stable in the face of stressful moments compared with pessimists.
"On days where they experience higher than average stress, that's when we see that the pessimists' stress response is much elevated, and they have trouble bringing their cortisol levels back down," study researcher Joelle Jobin, who is a Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology at the university, said in a statement. "Optimists, by contrast, were protected in these circumstances."
The small study, results of which are published in the journal Health Psychology, included 135 people ages 60 and older who were followed for six years. During 12 different days throughout this time period, researchers collected saliva samples five times a day to measure their levels of the stress hormone cortisol. They also asked the participants how many times they felt stressed/overwhelmed in a day, what level of stress they thought they experienced typically, and whether they considered themselves optimists or pessimists.
Then, researchers compared the cortisol levels of the participants on individual days to the average cortisol levels they experienced throughout the years, in order to gauge how much levels fluctuated up or down. They found that the optimists' cortisol levels were less likely to rise significantly on stressful days compared to their average stress levels, while pessimists' cortisol levels were more likely to be elevated compared to their average stress levels.
There are a lot of other benefits to being the type of person who looks on the bright side. Click through the slideshow to find out: