Study: Be An Optimist to Have a Healthy Heart

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Be An Optimist to Have a Healthy Heart

All you need to see, a glass is half-full, instead of half of the glass is empty. A recent study conducted on cardiovascular health by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, more than 5100 adults participated in the survey and the focus of the research was to explore the relationship between optimism and a healthy heart. People with upbeat outlooks on life have found with the significantly better cardiovascular function.

For the research purpose some major factors such as body mass index (BMI), serum cholesterol levels, blood pressure and fasting plasma glucose was considered and measures in each individual. Also lifestyle factors such as daily calorie intake, food habit, physical activity and smoking or alcohol consumption habit is also recorded.  Then the answers are rated is a likert scale where 0 means poor, 1 means intermediate and 2 means ideal. Then the scores were used to create an overall index to measure the overall cardiovascular health and the overall rating was from 0 to 14. The interviewees were also asked to complete surveys, which measured their physical health, mental health and optimism.

The findings of the study were surprising, The researchers reported that people who were more optimistic were 50% more likely to have an intermediate score  for their health condition and 76%  of them were more likely to have an ideal range of health scores.

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

The study also shows,  optimistic people had better blood sugar and a balanced total cholesterol level. Overall, they were more physically active and less likely to consume tobacco and alcohol.

These findings of the research have far-reaching consequences, even a little difference in a cardiovascular health rating can dramatically reduce a person’s likelihood to have a stroke.

Hernandez reported in the press release, “At the population level, even this moderate difference in cardiovascular health translates into a significant reduction in death rates”. “This evidence, which is hypothesized to occur through a biobehavioral mechanism, suggests that prevention strategies that target modification of psychological well-being (e.g., optimism) may be a potential avenue for the American Heart Association to reach its goal of improving Americans’ cardiovascular health by 20 percent before 2020.”

Optimism usually implies a dual aspect, that is conserved a sense of hope, as well as the belief that we live in “the best of all possible worlds”. People with an optimist mind tend to see the good in even worse conditions that empowers them to let go of excess weight and stresses and focus on the delighting things.

Yet, how optimism improves your health? While more suspicious people may view an upbeat behavior as ingenious, there is actually some true value in positivity. Researchers have analyzed the influence of optimism on health in the past and found that people with a positive thinking showed better heart health, immunity, pregnancy outcomes, pain tolerance and better recovery from cancer. Also the Optimist people tend to encourage a desire to manage exterior stresses and pushes surrounding people to reach out for social support and better their condition. Subsequently, optimism help people to find ways and avoid or negate their stress levels, we all know stress can take a heavy toll on the heart health and immune system.

Also the researchers reported that in another experiment conducted on women with breast cancer, they found that “optimistic women presented handle their disease by accepting the situation, emphasizes of the positive angles and aims to alleviate their suffering with a sense of humor, showing apparent positive outcomes on their quality of life. In opposite, the depressed women responded with emotions of impotence and loss of hope, which significantly worsened their quality of life.”

Even if positivity encounters with your philosophical view of life, it may be worth it to occasionally illuminate up a little, your heart will be healthier and thank you for it.

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