optimism heart health

How Positivity Can Improve Your Health

If you watch the news or read the paper on the daily, then you know there’s a lot of negativity in the world. It’s easy to let this negativity get the best of us and bring us down. But pushing through this negativity and maintaining a positive mental state and outlook can go a long way in preserving your health, more so for your heart.

Along with not smoking, eating well, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, and sleeping well to keep your heart healthy, it’s also important that you try and maintain positivity in your life, too.

The recent study included over 4,900 Latin/Hispanic individuals in the U.S. To assess heart health, the researchers used the American Heart Associations “Life’s Simple 7” assessment. The assessment includes measuring BMI, blood glucose, cholesterol levels, physical activity, smoking status, diet, and blood pressure.

Optimism was measured with the Life Orientation Test-Revised, which asks questions that measure a person’s outlook on life. Scores range from six to 30, with a score of 30 showing optimism.

Results of the study found that people who were more optimistic also had improved cardiovascular health.

Rosalba Hernandez, the principal investigator, explained, “Each unit increase in an adult’s level of optimism was associated with three percent higher odds of meeting the criteria for ideal cardiovascular health across four or more metrics. The correlation between optimism and cardiovascular health was consistent across heritage groups, regardless of age, sex, or level of acculturation.”

Although the study doesn’t prove cause and effect due to it being observational, it does reveal a strong correlation between optimism and heart health.

There are a few thoughts as to why this link exists. People who are optimistic may be more predisposed to finding ways to improve their health. In turn, being healthier makes you feel better and continues to promote positivity.

Those who were the most optimistic tended to be older, married or living with a partner, had higher education, and were more affluent.

Previous studies have related optimism with greater mental health too. If the glass is looking half empty, try to reverse the way you see it — looking at it as being half full will have a positive outcome.

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http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/3/e019434

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