There are many different things you can do to reduce your risk of a heart attack, such as not smoking, exercising, eating well, losing weight, getting enough sleep, and managing underlying health conditions. But did you ever think to change your state of mind to improve your heart health?
If you’re the type of person whose outlook on life is seeing the glass half full, you’ll like this news. You have a reduced risk of heart attack compared to someone who sees it as half empty.
A new study suggests that being optimistic is associated with having a healthier heart. The study looked at over 4,900 individuals and was conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois.
The participant’s heart health was assessed using the American Heart Association’s ‘Life’s Simple 7’ which looks at blood pressure, body mass index, fasting glucose, serum cholesterol levels, diet, physical activity, and smoking.
To measure optimism, the researchers used the Life Orientation Test-Revised. The test measures how closely participants agree to statements. Their score puts them on a scale between least optimistic to most optimistic.
Those with the highest levels of optimism tended to be older in age, be married or living with someone, had higher education levels, and were more affluent.
The researchers noted that every increase in optimism was associated with a three percent higher odds of meeting the ideal criteria for good heart health.
Among those with the lowest optimism levels, very few met good criteria for a healthy heart. But each increase in optimism was associated with improved cardiovascular health.
Although it isn’t well known, it’s still a good idea to try and have a positive outlook on life as another way to improve heart health.