Always look on the bright side

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Do you whistle while you work? Maybe you are one of those jolly souls who skips into the office on a Monday morning.

Nobody likes an overly cheerful colleague trilling in their ear, especially when you’ve stayed up late on a Sunday night to watch Lethal Weapon 2 for the 57th time, but it appears looking on the bright side is good for one’s health.

A study shows optimists have a longer life expectancy than those who prefer their glasses to be half empty. The snappily named Proceedings of the National Academy of Science has concluded that those who think positively can live for up to 15 per cent longer than those who think the world is going to end a week on Tuesday.

While observers have since pointed out the study focused largely on well-paid white people, most of whom have reasons to be cheerful, much is being made of the fact that having the right mindset gives us a better chance of making it beyond 85.

Clearly the Tiggers amongst us don’t always make old bones but there is much to be said for thinking happy thoughts when the chips are really down. How many times have we heard remarkable stories of human endurance or Lazarus-like recoveries from almost certain death? The protagonists in these very real-life stories are never dour, grey-faced curmudgeons but almost always bright-eyed, sometimes stubborn, individuals, motivated by that not-so-tired old adage that every cloud really does have a silver lining.

While the conclusions of the study will not surprise many people, one would hope that the prospect of extra time on this planet might make the Victor Meldrews out there change their miserable ways. Let’s be honest, we are living in such times when adopting a rosy outlook, while preferable, is pretty hard to do when confronted with some of the challenges that we face currently as a society.

But I do believe that there is a danger in being too gloomy.

After all, 80 years ago this month, my grandad and his pals were getting ready for war.

No matter how bad we think things have become, it could be much worse.