Positivity Can Help Your Heart

A sunny disposition can be wonderful. Not only does the person with a happy attitude see the bright side and wake up feeling great, but people around them feel it too. Being someone who is dour, or spending time with someone who is gloomy, can be tiring. It is well known that people with sunny dispositions can lighten up the mood around them and make an unpleasant situation more bearable. Although, for folks who aren’t morning people, they can be tiresome early in the day.

Happy people influence the people around them; moods are contagious. Having a foul-tempered person around lowers your attitude while having positive people can help you out of a funk. Ill-tempers can wear on our health, reducing our immune system, increasing physical stress reactions and upsetting mental health. Additionally, a Harvard study linked positivity to a longer life. They also saw a connection between chronic distress and heart disease. 

Being happy also has an impact on your lifestyle, a study of 7,000 people saw that people with positive wellbeing were more likely to eat fruit and veggies, were more likely to be physically active and had fewer sleep problems. Happiness can also reduce levels of cortisol, a hormone that contributes to the effects of stress. That was shown in a lab study of 200 people that also saw that the effects persisted over time. That suggests that the impact is temperament, not fleeting moods. Being happy for a moment won’t have the impact that general positivity does. 

Being a positive person reduces blood pressure. In fact, happy people had a nine percent lower risk of high blood pressure and a 13-26 percent lower risk of heart disease. Greater positivity can help people with heart disease as well. Being sunny lowers the risk of death for someone with heart disease by 11 percent. Happiness also reduces pain, or at least the impact of it. Happier people with arthritic knees for an average of 711 steps more than their unhappy counterparts.    

Now, in a study of 70,000 women that took place over 10 years, researchers saw that happy people were 38 percent less likely to die from a heart attack and 39 percent less likely to die from strokes. Those are some significant numbers! With all this in mind, you may either be feeling pretty good about your future health or worried. But, if you are not a naturally happy person, have no fear. You can train yourself to be more positive. Some ideas may seem foolish to you at first. Keeping a gratitude journal, wherein you track a few things a day that perked up your mood, for a couple of months lowered cortisol levels and heart rates, even when put under stress. You can act when you recognize a bad mood: listen to happy music, call a friend, go outside and enjoy the day. You can focus on the positive aspects of yourself instead of looking at the negative. You can also cut down on the amount of time you spend with dour people. Additionally, charity helps us feel happier. Helping others not only helps them; it’s its own reward.

So, while it can be hard to shake off a bad mood, let yourself breathe, relax and find some good vibes to help your health!

April 26, 2019

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