Having a positive attitude about life can go a long way in helping you lead a better quality of life, and that’s exactly what a team of researchers have explained through their new study. It has now been found that optimism, in general, could be the key to better heart health.
“Individuals with the highest levels of optimism have twice the odds of being in ideal cardiovascular health compared to their more pessimistic counterparts,” said Rosalba Hernandez, the lead author of the new study, in a news release. “This association remains significant, even after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics and poor mental health.”
The researchers assessed the cardiovascular health of the study participants using seven metrics- dietary intake, blood pressure levels, blood cholesterol levels, physical activity, fasting glucose levels, tobacco use and body mass index. They also assessed their levels of optimism, mental and physical health status.
They further compared the total health scores of these study subjects with their levels of optimism and found that the study subjects who were more optimistic were around 76% more likely to have a better health score. They also had significantly reduced blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels than others, and were more physically active and less likely to smoke too.
“At the population level, even this moderate difference in cardiovascular health translates into a significant reduction in death rates,” said Hernandez. “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 AHA to reach its goal of improving Americans’ cardiovascular health by 20 percent before 2020.”
The findings of this study are published in the journal Health Behavior & Policy Review.