Maintaining a positive mental attitude could also benefit our physical health, new research has suggested. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that women who considered themselves "optimistic" were less likely to die from numerous prevalent diseases than women who were considered "pessimistic." The study looked at more than 70,000 women aged between 58 and 73 and asked participants to rate their own optimism, or lack thereof, on a scale of 1 to 24, the BBC reports. Other factors including a woman's relationship status, medical history and family background were taken into account before the link between higher optimism and lower health risks was established. In fact, the study found that the most optimistic group of women were 16% less likely to die from cancer, 38% less likely to die from heart disease, and 39% less likely to die from a stroke than the least optimistic group. The study's co-lead author, Dr. Eric Kim of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in response to the results: "While most medical and public health efforts today focus on reducing risk factors for diseases, evidence has been mounting that enhancing psychological resilience may also make a difference. "Our new findings suggest that we should make efforts to boost optimism, which has been shown to be associated with healthier behaviours and healthier ways of coping with life challenges."