Older people can literally think themselves into the grave by feeling bad about getting old, researchers said on Sunday.

People who said they had more positive views about aging lived an average 7.6 years longer than those with negative perceptions, the researchers report in the August issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association.

How one feels about getting old is more important even than having low blood pressure or cholesterol, said the researchers led by psychologist Becca Levy of Yale University.