Holistic health practitioners have always recognized the importance of the mind-emotions-body-spirit connection. And a study published online in Psychological Bulletin has brought forth evidence to support this position. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that positive psychological well-being appears to protect cardiovascular health.
Cardiovascular disease, also called heart disease, remains the number one killer in the United States, accounting for 2,200 deaths each day according to the American Heart Association. Cardiovascular diseases are disorders of the heart and blood vessels, such as heart attack, stroke, coronary artery disease, heart valve problems and arrhythmias.
Controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease include not smoking, eating a healthy diet, controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, maintaining a healthy weight and participating in regular physical activity.
The study authors systematically reviewed more than 200 studies, the largest review of psychological well-being and heart disease to date. The researchers from Harvard found that factors such as optimism, life satisfaction and positive emotions provided protection against cardiovascular disease. Remarkably, this fact remained true regardless of other factors such as age, socioeconomic status, smoking status or body weight.
Lead author, Laura Kubzansky, associate professor of society, human development, and health at Harvard School of Public Health, and her colleagues found that happier and more optimistic individuals experienced better biological function, particularly when it came to cardiovascular disease risk factors. These individuals had lower blood pressure, improved cholesterol profiles and healthier body weights.
These findings suggest that maintaining a positive attitude and psychological wellness can profoundly influence your overall health and well-being. “For example, the most optimistic individuals had an approximately 50% reduced risk of experiencing an initial cardiovascular event compared to their less optimistic peers,” exclaims research fellow Julia Boehm, in materials provided by Harvard School of Public Health.
The study authors emphasize that if future research confirms these findings it could lead to changes in cardiovascular disease prevention strategies.
Use the following 10 tips to maintain a positive attitude:
Believe in yourself.
Practice positive affirmations daily.
View challenges and adversity as opportunities to learn, grow and develop.
Discard negative thoughts without delay.
Laugh each day.
Immerse yourself in serving others.
Listen to uplifting music.