Relax. It’s Good for Your Heart!

 In Blog, Healthy Steps

Does a healthy outlook equal a healthy heart? Perhaps, says a news new study.

In a study published in the Psychological Bulletin, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers found that positive psychological well-being appears to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events.

“We found that factors such as optimism, life satisfaction, and happiness are associated with reduced risk of CVD regardless of such factors as a person’s age, socioeconomic status, smoking status, or body weight,” said lead author Julia Boehm, research fellow in the Department of Society, Human Development, and Health at HSPH. “For example, the most optimistic individuals had an approximately 50% reduced risk of experiencing an initial cardiovascular event compared to their less optimistic peers.”

The researchers also found that positive people were also more likely to engage in healthy activities such as exercising and eating well, which in turn can lead to lower blood pressure, healthier lipid (blood fat) profiles, and normal body weight.

This news isn’t entirely surprising, especially with all the other studies revolving around the opposite feelings of depression, anger, and stress, which are known to raise blood pressure, increase your changes for a heart attack, compromise your immune system, and even speed up the aging process.

For those dealing with chronic stress, try the following:

  • Get More Sleep. Studies show, a lack of quality of sleep can affect the ability to control your mood and make good decisions.
  • Work Out! Keeping your body in good physical shape (by coming into Rock Creek Sports Club, of course) will help you better face the demands of stressful conditions.
  • Be Social. Modern life sometimes leaves us isolated from the outside world. Multiple studies have shown that people who have a network of (positive) people they interact with on a daily basis, actually live longer.

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