A Healthy Outlook

Reveals that pessimists have higher blood pressure than their more optimistic counterparts, according to a research. Warning on fatalists' naturally high blood pressure; Tips on how to keep health risks down.

By Camille Chatterjee, published on July 1, 1999 - last reviewed on July 13, 2009


A new reason to turn that frown upside down: pessimists have higher blood pressure than their more optimistic counterparts.

Because people who see a glass as half empty don't cope actively with stress or anxiety, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Finland's University of Helsinki guessed that they might be more vulnerable to high blood pressure than their cheerier peers. The team, led by behavioral physiologist Karen Matthews, Ph.D., outfitted 100 men and women with monitors which recorded their blood pressures every 30 minutes for two working days and one weekend day. After each interval, subjects described their mood, physical activity level and recent social interactions. Regardless of their mood, perennial grouches had higher average blood pressures than optimistic subjects. Pessimists also reported more negative interpersonal interactions.

Matthews warns that fatalists' naturally high blood pressure may lead to heart disease or hypertension down the road. So to keep your health risks down, try looking up.