Can Happiness Improve Heart Health?

By Mark Vavoulis

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A new study has found that being happy and having a positive outlook on life may help to prevent heart disease.According to Reuters, researchers in Canada followed 1,739 men and women over a 10 year period. Trained nurses measured the participants heart disease risk along with their negative emotions such as depression, hostility and anxiety and their positive emotions such as joy, happiness, excitement, enthusiasm and contentment.

The researchers then ranked their positive emotions, known as "positive affect," across five levels ranging from "none" to "extreme" and found that for each rank the risk of heart disease decreased by 22 percent.

Lead researcher Karina Davidson of Columbia University Medical Center said the findings suggest that enhancing peoples’ positive emotions could help prevent heart disease. She added that more clinical trials are needed to support her study’s results.

"We also found that if someone who was usually positive had some depressive symptoms at the time of the survey, this did not affect their overall lower risk of heart disease," she said.Researchers explained the possible link between happiness and increased heart health by pointing out that happier people have longer periods of rest or relaxation and are able to quickly recover from stressful situations.

Happiness - or even just pretending to be happy - is good for your heart, researchers find

BY Jacob E. Osterhout

Laugh a little! Even fake giggles are good for your heart, researchers found.

Don't worry, be happy - or just fake it.

A new study published in the European Heart Journal shows that happiness, even if feigned, may decrease the risk of heart attacks.

According to the AP, the researchers at Columbia University graded the happiness levels of close to 1,700 adults in Canada who had no heart problems in 1995.

They then went back after ten years and examined the 145 people who developed cardiac problems and discovered that they were not as happy as the subjects who were still healthy.

Using a five-point scale, researchers measured their subjects' happiness, adjusting their results to take into account age, gender and smoking.

They discovered that for every point on the happiness scale, the subjects were 22 percent less likely to experience heart problems.

Even if subjects weren't really happy, feigning a positive outlook still proved beneficial to their hearts.

"If you aren't naturally a happy person, just try acting like one," Dr. Karina Davidson, the studies lead author, told the AP. "It could help your heart."


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