Can Happiness Keep Your Heart Healthy?
Researchers say that staying positive can actually help people with heart disease keep healthy.
According to a study at Penn State University, positive emotions often result in healthy habits that can reduce the risk of future heart problems.
The scientists followed more than 1,000 patients with coronary heart disease to see how maintaining positive emotions might help them.
Study participants were asked twice—at the beginning of the study and five years later--to rate the extent that they had felt 10 specified positive emotions, including "interested," "proud," "enthusiastic" and "inspired."
Physical activity, sleep quality, whether they took their medications regularly, and alcohol and cigarette use were measured. Demographic factors, depressive symptoms and the severity of their heart conditions were also taken into account.
Patients who reported more positive attitudes were found to be more likely to be physically active, sleep better and take their heart medications. They were also less likely to smoke, compared with patients demonstrating lower levels of positive states.
The researchers suggested that people with more positive feelings may be more motivated to follow healthy behaviors, and feel more focused on maintaining good routines in their physical activity and sleep hygiene.