You might not know this, but a growing body of research has shown if your mind is healthy, then your heart is also healthy.
The exact mechanism these researchers have associated with increased heart health?
There have already been numerous studies that show how you can train your brain for positive affects on your health.
But now researchers have been able to show how optimism likely helps the heart.
Scott Barry writing for Scientific American noted how optimistic people have healthier hearts.
This conception is important because optimism is particularly associated with positive immunological functioning and health. A 2012 review conducted by Julia Boehm and Laura Kubzansky concluded that in healthy populations, “optimism and vitality are consistently associated with reduced risk of incident cardiovascular events.” In fact, across both healthy and patient populations, optimism was “the most reliably associated with a reduced risk of cardiac events.”
Now optimism can’t be unrestrained.
Scientists also noted that for the full effects of optimism to be realized, the person who was optimistic must have been so within the confines of reality.
Meaning if the persons’ optimism became delusional at any point, then they risked other deleterious health effects.
They also noted part of the reason that optimistic people were prone to have healthier hearts was because their optimism caused them to be less likely to participate in dangerous activities that would lead to cardiovascular problems.
Meaning optimistic people were likely to have a healthier diet, participate in healthy exercise routines, not smoke or drink excessively etc.
But it should also be made known that just being optimistic doesn’t cause a healthy heart.
As this review (which includes 10 studies) suggests, the link between optimism and a healthy heart is real and robust. But this is just an association. This research doesn’t mean that optimism causes a healthy heart. It’s possible that being healthy causes people to be more optimistic. Or even another variable might be at play here that causes both optimism and a healthy heart to be related. While there is increasing evidence that high well-being does cause better health and longevity, we definitely need more research that follows people up over a long period of time and looks at the precise mechanisms that cause these factors to be related.
In fact what we know to be true is some of the leading reasons for cardiovascular disease have everything to do with diet.
Odds are you’re eating a food type that has been proven to cause heart attacks.
Not sure what it is?