Optimism cuts your risk for heart attack

Being upbeat is good for your heart, a new study suggests. In fact, individuals who have a “better mood” and “a better sense ever well-being” may have “less heart disease.”

The Huffington Post reports researchers “reviewed more than 200 studies from the last several decades looking at positive psychological well-being and heart health.” The investigators found that “positive psychological well-being, which includes things like happiness, life satisfaction and especially optimism, may help protect against heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular problem.”

HealthDay News reports “Many previous studies have shown that negative mental states — such as depression, anger, anxiety and hostility – can harm the heart. This Harvard School of Public Health review found that positive feelings appear to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and events such as heart attack and stroke.”

“The absence of the negative is not the same thing as the presence of the positive,” lead author Julia Boehm, a research fellow in the department of society, human development, and health, said in a university news release.

“We found that factors such as optimism, life satisfaction and happiness are associated with reduced risk of [cardiovascular disease] regardless of such factors as a person’s age, socioeconomic status, smoking status or body weight.”

“For example, the most optimistic individuals had an approximately 50 percent reduced risk of experiencing an initial cardiovascular event compared to their less optimistic peers,” Boehm noted.

The researchers also found that people with a sense of psychological well-being engaged in healthy behaviors such as exercising, eating a balanced diet and getting sufficient sleep.

In addition, greater psychological well-being was associated with lower blood pressure, healthier blood-fat status and normal body weight.

The study was published in the journal Psychological Bulletin.

The AP reports, “More research is needed but that link between psychological and physical well-being makes sense, said Dr. Elizabeth Jackson of the University of Michigan and American College of Cardiology, who wasn’t involved with the review.

Among her own heart patients, she has noticed that those who feel they have some control over their lives and are invested in their care have better outcomes.

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