Turns out a cheery disposition can influence a helluva lot more than just your mood – it can keep your health in check too. According to research out of Harvard and Northwestern University in Chicago, having a positive attitude helps reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
To come to this conclusion, scientists looked at existing evidence linking psychological wellbeing to cardiovascular health.
“We addressed how social environment, psychological well-being and the effectiveness of intervention strategies can help strengthen a patient’s outlook,” lead author, Professor Darwin Labarthe told Daily Mail. “We focused on whether psychological well-being can be consistently related with a reduced risk of heart disease.”
Their research showed that looking on the bright side leads to people to live cleaner lives by prioritising healthy eating and exercise. It also helped them cut back on smoking and alcohol and better manage day-to-day stressors.
One study, in particular, found that 25 per cent of people with high levels of optimism had a 38 per cent reduced risk of dying of heart disease.
“Optimists persevere by using problem-solving and planning strategies to manage stressors,” Labarthe explained.
“If others are faced with factors out of their control, they begin to shift their goals and use potentially maladaptive coping strategies, which would ultimately result in inflammation levels and less favourable overall heart health.”