Heart Health and Positivity

Posted on by Paula Gallagher

IMG_4209Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. The American Heart Association (AHA) estimates that about 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease (CVD) each day. This is an average of one death every 39 seconds. Stroke causes about one of every 18 U.S. deaths. Diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and medicine are the usual recommendations to ward off or treat heart disease. But more and more research shows that heart health and positivity are linked and that having a good attitude can go a long way toward reducing your risk of heart attacks and stroke. Factors such as optimism, life satisfaction and happiness are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, regardless of such factors as a person’s age, socioeconomic status, smoking status or body weight. If you tend to be pessimist, you may want to consider that in 2014, the American Heart Association published a report in the journal Stroke that concluded that higher levels of stress, hostility and depressive symptoms are associated with significantly increased risk of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) in middle-age and older adults. So what can you do? Simple daily choices that include things like maintaining a strong social network, physical activity, a sense of humor, and practicing mindfulness can help you become more optimistic, grateful, satisfied and upbeat, while at the same time becoming less hostile, stressed and depressed. Think positive: Research shows that optimists have a 50% 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. Healthier lifestyle: People with a sense of psychological well-being also looked after themselves better by: • Eating a healthy diet • Exercising • Getting enough sleep More health benefits: Positive people experienced other health benefits, including • Lower blood pressure • Normal weight • Healthier lipid profiles. Photo from here, with thanks.