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Healthy Lifestyles

A Positive Outlook Matters - People Who Believe in Their Ability to Change The Future Live Healthier Lives

posted 12:05 AM EST, Wed September 19, 2012

Researchers say mental outlook has a great influence on overall health. People who believe in fate or luck are more likely to binge drink, overeat and smoke cigarettes while people who believe their choices matter tend to adopt healthier lifestyle habits.

After sifting through data on more than 7000 people who contributed to the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia study, researchers in Melbourne think they’ve stumbled upon an important point about what it takes to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Believe that your actions influence your future and you’re more likely to live in a way that safeguards that future. Believe more in fate, chance or destiny and you’re more likely to avoid exercise, smoke cigarettes, overeat and binge drink.

The researchers also say that men and women seem to have different motivations for healthier living. While women appreciate the day to day benefits of a healthier lifestyle, men are more focused on achieving demonstrable physical results from their lifestyle choices.


The researchers conclude that doctors and other professionals who hope to change a patient’s behavior need to provide more than basic information, they also need to look at the patient’s personality as a way to understand the ‘psychological underpinnings’ of poor lifestyle choices.

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Story Highlights
  • Locus of Control: If you believe in your ability to change then you probably can
  • Gender Differences: Men are more focused on getting physical results from their behavioral changes
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