You know that personality test that we all took in high school that told us what kind of people we were? The one that classified us into type A, B, or C personality types?
Research has long shown that people with Type A personalities, who are more often chronically angry, anxious, and depressed, have higher risks of heart attacks.
New research at Harvard University shows the flip side to this knowledge – that being upbeat and optimistic can help protect your heart from heart disease. Optimism in particular showed great heart protecting benefits. Multiple studies have shown that the most optimistic people actually have half of the risk for a first heart attack than people who are less optimistic.
Studies show that “stress associated with negative psychological traits can lead to damage of the arteries and heart itself.”
People who are more optimistic and who have a better sense of well-being tend to have healthier blood pressures, lower cholesterols, and weigh less. These people are also more likely to exercise, sleep the right amount, avoid smoking, and eat healthier. These are factors that affect your heart health.
The big question mark that is still lingering is about cause and effect. Are optimistic people more likely to make heart-healthy decisions, or is it the healthy living and heart healthy decisions that are making people more happy and optimistic.
It can be difficult to think positive when you are a natural pessimist. But maybe it’s time to start thing positive, not only because you will be happier, but because it may boost your heart health. Rather than just thinking about how to decrease the negative risks, maybe it’s time to think about how to boost the positive protection.