Anger, depression, and anxiety have been shown to negatively affect heart health. Researchers have now found that being positive contributes to a healthy heart.
From The Power of Positive Thinking to The Secret, the notion that being positive can bring us prosperity and health has been around for over half a century. Previous studies have shown that negative emotions, such as anger, anxiety, and depression can negatively impact heart health. But a new study shows that being positive may have health benefits by reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
“The absence of the negative is not the same thing as the presence of the positive. We found that factors such as optimism, life satisfaction, and happiness are associated with reduced risk of CVD [cardiovascular disease] regardless of such factors as a person’s age, socioeconomic status, smoking status, or body weight,” said lead author Julia Boehm of the Harvard School of Public Health.
The most optimistic people had a 50 percent reduced risk of experiencing an initial cardiovascular event compared to those with less optimistic outlooks. A positive attitude also appears to slow the progression of heart disease.
Researchers discovered that people with a sense of psychological well-being also looked after themselves better by
More health benefits
Positive people experienced other health benefits, including
- lower blood pressure
- normal weight
- healthier lipid profiles
Researchers conclude that future studies should focus on improving psychological well-being rather than mitigating negative psychological emotions.