Happy People Have Healthier Hearts

Experts keep finding new links between our emotional and physical health. In a new report in the Psychological Bulletin, a pair of Harvard researchers took a closer look at how optimism may keep our hearts healthy.

After reviewing earlier studies, they conclude that people with so-called “positive psychological well-being” have a lower risk of heart disease. The element that seems to be especially helpful is optimism.

Last year these same researchers found that out of a group of nearly 8,000 men and women, those with the highest levels of optimism were 27% less likely to develop coronary heart disease.

People with an upbeat outlook tend to have a healthier lifestyle, which may help explain this connection, according to the researchers. Even if you’re not naturally optimistic, small changes in your life can help brighten your outlook.

• Regular exercise can help relieve depression.
• Yoga can be especially useful for helping your mind and body work together.
• Spending a few moments every day to feel grateful for the good things in your life can help you learn to focus on the positive.

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