Optimism boosts overall health but its positive impact on the heart is even greater, says a new research conducted by the University of Illinois. The study found that those with an upbeat outlook on life had significantly better cardiovascular health than that of pessimists.
The study examined associations between optimism and heart health in more than 5,100 adults. Participants' cardiovascular health was assessed using seven metrics: blood pressure, body mass index, fasting plasma glucose and serum cholesterol levels, dietary intake, physical activity and tobacco use. They also completed surveys that assessed their mental health, levels of optimism and physical health.
According to Rosalba Hernandez, lead author of the research and a professor of social work at the University of Illinois, individuals with the highest levels of optimism have twice the odds of being in ideal cardiovascular health compared to their more pessimistic counterparts. She adds that this association remains significant even after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics and poor mental health.
People who were the most optimistic were twice as likely to have ideal cardiovascular health, and 55 percent more likely to have a total health score in the intermediate range.