Healthier Hearts Come from Being Optimistic

Good news for everyone who sees the cup as half full – your heart is healthier than those who see it as half empty! A new study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign published in Health Behavior and Policy Review which looked at the relationship between optimism and cardiovascular health found there to be a positive correlation. A correlation of as much as  double the chance of being heart healthy than their pessimistic friends.

Healthy Heart – Healthy You!

Individuals with the highest levels of optimism have twice the odds of being in ideal cardiovascular health compared to their more pessimistic counterparts,” said lead author Rosalba Hernandez, a professor of social work at the University of Illinois. “This association remains significant, even after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics and poor mental health.

Participants’ cardiovascular health was assessed using seven metrics: blood pressure, body mass index, fasting plasma glucose and serum cholesterol levels, dietary intake, physical activity and tobacco use — the same metrics used by the American Heart Association to define heart health and being targeted by the AHA in its Life’s Simple 7 public awareness campaign.

AHA’s Life’s Simple 7 to learn more about following their  7 Lifestyle guidelines to encourage heart health:

  1. 1. Get Active
  2. 2. Control Cholesterol
  3. 3. Eat Better
  4. 4. Manage Blood Pressure
  5. 5. Lose Weight
  6. 6. Reduce Blood Sugar
  7. 7. Stop Smoking”

The participants (in the optimism study).. ranged in age from 45-84 years.

Optimists had significantly better blood sugar and total cholesterol levels than their counterparts. They also were more physically active, had healthier body mass indexes and were less likely to smoke..”

So as I see it, you really do have to embrace a mindset of seeing your body as something to take care of, with a positive self image, strong motivation to fuel your body to function at its optimum levels, and possess the ability to be looking forward to a bright future with positive goals to accomplish. Having a great sense of humor, surrounding yourself with positive friendships and relationships, and being present each moment of each day, goes a long way toward optimism and health, too.

Journal Reference:

  1. Rosalba Hernandez, Kiarri N. Kershaw, Juned Siddique, Julia K. Boehm, Laura D. Kubzansky, Ana Diez-Roux, Hongyan Ning, Donald M. Lloyd-Jones. Optimism and Cardiovascular Health: Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Health Behavior and Policy Review, 2015; 2 (1): 62 DOI: 10.14485/HBPR.2.1.6
About Candace

Candy Dye is a Nurse Practitioner and teacher that loves everything about health, wellness, looking beautiful, and being with people who enjoy life and love to have fun!

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