• Optimism: Heart Health Boost

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    A new study has good news — if you’re the optimistic type, at least. Researchers found that people with positive outlooks on life showed a strong correlation with good cardiovascular health.

    Rosalba Hernandez, lead author of the study and professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said in a statement that the research found that people with the highest levels of optimism had “twice the odds of being in ideal cardiovascular health compared to their more pessimistic counterparts.”

    Even when the study adjusted for socio-demographic characteristics and poor mental health, the results remained consistent, she said, according to International Business Times.

    Heart disease is the most deadly illness facing the United States, killing about 2,200 Americans every day. The American Heart Association states that about one in 18 Americans are killed by a stroke.

    Mounting research reveals that you cannot separate your health from your emotions, and numerous studies support the idea that having an upbeat and positive perspective can translate into living a longer healthier life.

    For example, in one older study, pessimism was linked to a 19 percent higher risk of dying over a 30-year period.

    More recently, studies have confirmed the link between optimism and heart health specifically. One 2011 study found that those who reported higher levels of satisfaction in areas like career, sex life, and family had a reduced risk for heart disease.

    Optimism Promotes Heart Health

    After examining the associations between optimism and heart health in more than 5,100 adults of various ethnic groups for 11 years, researchers at the University of Illinois report that people who display a more optimistic can-do attitude in life experience significantly better cardiovascular health over the long term.

    People who were the most optimistic were up to 76 percent more …

    Other studies have suggested that there is a link between mental health and physical health. For example, an AHA report last summer suggested that high levels of stress and hostility were associated with a greater risk of stroke. A 2012 Harvard tudy also noted that positive emotions and optimism appeared to reduced the risk of heart problems.

    However, this latest study appears to be the first that specifically looks at how optimism factors into heart health.

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