Can Being Happy Protect Your Heart?

According to a recent study your outlook can and does affect your heart health.  People with the most negative emotions had the highest risk for heart disease and people who scored highest for happiness had the lowest risk.  One possible explanation was that happier people tend to lead healthier lives; eating better, sleeping better and getting more exercise.

“Naturally happy people certainly do experience depression and other negative emotions from time to time”, lead researcher Karina W. Davidson, PhD, of Columbia University Medical Center tells WebMD. “But this is usually situational and transient.”

“If we are able to change people’s level of positive effect we may be able to lower their risk for heart disease,” Davidson says.

She recommends devoting at least 15 to 20 minutes a day to doing something enjoyable and relaxing. And make sure this activity is not the first thing to be abandoned on a busy day.

As with a lot of things in life deciding to be happy is a simple concept, but not always easy to implement.  Here are some tips on how you can bring more happiness to your life:

  • Express gratitude to those around you.  Say “thank you” and “I appreciate you” often.
  • Take a moment at the beginning of the day and imagine your day going smoothly as if you were watching it unfold on a movie screen.
  • Practice forgiveness.
  • Take note of even small good things that happen to you during the day.  Did someone let you in on the freeway?  Did you step right up at the coffee shop without having to wait in line?

I recently heard the phrase “inverse paranoid” which means instead of believing the world is out to get you, you believe that everyone is plotting to do good things for you.  What a great concept!

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