Q. When researchers did a study of baseball players, was it the home run hitters who tended to live the longest?
A. As much as home run hitters have going for them, it was the players who hit it off well with others, and hence with life, who tended to gain the extra years, says David G. Myers in Exploring Psychology: Ninth Edition. It has been manifestly confirmed that happy people tend to be healthier and to outlive their unhappy peers. Even a big, happy smile can forecast longevity, as researchers discovered when examining photos of 150 Major League baseball players who had appeared in the 1952 baseball register and who had died by 2009 (Abel & Kruger, 2010). “On average, the nonsmilers had died at 73, compared with an average 80 years for those with a broad, genuine smile.” On the other hand, pessimism can be toxic. As noted by Laura Kubzansky and colleagues, even after other risk factors such as smoking have been ruled out, pessimists are twice as likely as optimists to develop coronary heart disease. Other studies have shown that in the year following a heart attack, depressed people were about four times more likely to experience further heart problems. As Myers puts it, "depression is disheartening."