In Phase 1, you have an alarm reaction, as your sympathetic nervous system is suddenly activated. Your heart rate zooms. Blood is diverted to your skeletal muscles. You feel the faintness of shock. With your resources mobilized, you are now ready to fight back.
During Phase 2, resistance, your temperature, blood pressure, and respiration remain high. Your adrenal glands pump hormones into your bloodstream. You are fully engaged, summoning all your resources to meet the challenge. As time passes, with no relief from stress, your body's reserves dwindle.
You have reached Phase 3, exhaustion. With exhaustion, you become more vulnerable to illness or even, in extreme cases, collapse and death.
Optimistic people tend to live healthier lives. They live longer, get sick less often, feel less pain and are able to recover from injuries quicker.
The more optimistic you are the less stress, anxiety and depression you encounter. Stress, anxiety and depression have negative effects on your health such as from the stress hormone cortisol that weakening your immune system. Stress also generates more inflammation, which is associated with heart and other health problems such as strokes.
It is possible that optimists enjoy better health and longer lives than pessimists because they lead healthier lifestyles, build stronger social support networks, and get better medical care. Indeed, some studies report that optimists are more likely to exercise, less likely to smoke, more likely to live with a spouse, and more likely to follow medical advice than pessimists.