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Could Our Attitude Prevent Heart Disease?

Could Our Attitude Prevent Heart Disease?

The adage, “Don’t worry, be happy,” suddenly has a lot more weight behind it, thanks to the latest medical research. In the first-ever systematic review of happiness and heart health, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston have found that a positive outlook on life can actually protect your heart from cardiovascular disease.

According to the American Heart Association, over 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease every day. Studies over the past few decades have shown links between stress and health. In this comprehensive review of over 200 studies of various forms of well-being and cardiovascular health outcomes, Harvard researchers Julia Boehm and Laura Kubzansky discovered that certain psychological traits—optimism, positive emotions and a sense of meaning—offer measurable protection against heart attacks and strokes. These characteristics have been found to slow the progression of cardiovascular disease as well.

Boehm says that even when measured separately, optimism can play a major role in whether an individual will suffer from a heart attack or stroke. She and Kubzansky found that the most optimistic individuals had approximately 50 percent less chance of experiencing an initial cardiovascular event compared to their less optimistic peers.

The researchers reviewed questionnaires in which people were asked to indicate the extent to which they feel hopeful about their futures or feel positive emotions. They then related those to the occurrence of cardiovascular disease. “The absence of the negative is not the same thing as the presence of the positive,” says Boehm. “In general, psychology has been trying to fix what’s wrong with people, but there’s also an increasing interest in what people might be doing right.”

 

Read more: Conditions, Health, Heart & Vascular Disease, , ,

By Michelle Oznowicz, Ode Magazine

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Megan, selected from The Intelligent Optimist

Ode, the magazine for Intelligent Optimists, is an international independent journal that publishes positive news, about the people and ideas that are changing our world for the better.

50 comments

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6:00AM PDT on Mar 28, 2013

Thank you Megan, for Sharing this!

6:36PM PST on Feb 11, 2013

I know.

2:46AM PST on Jan 31, 2013

There really is such a thing as a broken heart, and it can seriously affect your health.

12:38AM PST on Jan 8, 2013

Except in those rare circumstances where we actually can fight or flee, stress hormones don't do us any good.

10:24PM PST on Jan 7, 2013

Thanks for the share!

9:58PM PST on Jan 7, 2013

Isn't there a saying "don't worry, be happy?!"

6:02PM PST on Jan 7, 2013

Attitude is everything....

6:01PM PST on Jan 7, 2013

ty

5:24PM PST on Jan 7, 2013

Article very cool. It is proved that the greatest enemy of the heart is stress. So, in 2013 let's smile more, love more, pray more, enjoy the nature, no hate and forgive more. All this is very simple to practice and certainly our heart will thank a lot.

2:17PM PST on Jan 7, 2013

nothing new here.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Alexandra R. says it all, thanks.

What is not covered is an alternate of giving it a big hand. No STD or STI's here. It was once said …

I live in the Santa Cruz Mountains too. Luckily my commute is quick. I rarely have to sit in traffic…

maybe the coconut milk!

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