By now most people are aware, at least to some degree, of things that are good for your heart. Exercise? Check. Oatmeal? Done. Salmon? Affirmative. Managing Stress effectively? Why of course! Now let’s throw in a healthy dose of optimism for good measure! Results yielded from a new study conducted by the University of Illinois are suggestive that optimism can lead to improved heart health.
Led by Dr. Rosalba Hernandez, a professor of social work, the study examined more than 5,100 adults between the ages of 45 and 84. The construct of cardiovascular health was calculated by assessing seven dimensions: blood pressure, body mass index, fasting plasma glucose and serum cholesterol levels, dietary intake, physical activity, and tobacco use. These are the current metrics used by to American Heart Association to assess heath health. Each of these seven dimensions were rated either zero, one, or two (denoting poor, intermediate, and ideal scores, respectively) with higher scores corresponding with healthier heart states. To evaluate level of optimism, the participants completed surveys measuring mental health, levels of optimism, and physical health. In their results, a correlation was found between the participants’ total health score and their levels of optimism.
So it looks like we now have another reason to maintain a healthy, optimistic outlook on life!
Nauert, R. (2015). Optimism is heart healthy. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 12, 2015.
Faisal Roberts, M.A.
WKPIC Doctoral Intern