Just being happy and cheerful will do a lot of goodness to your heart. A new study has concluded that happy and optimistic people are less likely to suffer from heart disease and stroke.
Being cheerful may protect against heart problems, say US experts.
Happy, optimistic people have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, a Harvard School of Public Health review of more than 200 studies – reported in Psychological Bulletin – suggests.
While such people may be generally healthier, scientists think a sense of well-being may lower risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Stress and depression have already been linked to heart disease.
The researcher from the Harvard School of Public Health trawled medical trial databases to find studies that had recorded psychological well-being and cardiovascular health.
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% lower among the most optimistic individuals.
Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “The association between heart disease and mental health is very complex and still not fully understood.
“Although this study didn’t look at the effects of stress, it does confirm what we already know which is psychological well-being is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, just like staying active and eating healthily.
“It also highlights the need for healthcare professionals to provide a holistic approach to care, taking into account the state of someone’s mental health and monitoring its effect on their physical health.”