Be an optimist, it's good for your heart!

Be an optimist, it's good for your heart!

Be an optimist, it's good for your heart, according to a Harvard School of Public Health review of more than 200 studies.

Researchers have found that cheerful people have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke -- while such people may be generally healthier, a sense of well-being is what that lowers risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

The researchers trawled medical trial databases to find studies that had recorded psychological well-being and cardiovascular health, the 'BBC' reported.

This revealed that factors such as optimism, life satisfaction, and happiness appeared to be linked associated with a reduced risk of heart and circulatory diseases, regardless of a person's age, socio-economic status, smoking status or body weight.

Disease risk was 50 per cent lower among the most optimistic individuals.

However, Dr Julia Boehm, who led the review, stresses that the work only suggests a link and is not proof that well-being buffers against heart disease.

And not only is it difficult to objectively measure well-being, other heart risk factors like cholesterol and diabetes are more important when it comes to reducing disease.

The people in the study who were more optimistic engaged in healthier behaviours such as getting more exercising and eating a balanced diet, which will have some influence.

But even when they controlled for these factors and others, like sleep quality, the link between optimism and better heart health remained, revealed the findings published in the 'Psychological Bulletin' journal.

Maureen Talbot at the British Heart Foundation, said: "The association between heart disease and mental health is very complex and still not fully understood."

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