A Positive Attitude is Positive

A positive attitude can cause a chain reaction of positive outcomes, thoughts, and events. Likewise, according to a recent study published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes patients with heart disease who have a positive attitude are more likely to exercise, reduce levels of stress hormones, adopt healthier lifestyle habits, and may live a longer life.

A new study from Denmark finds that heart disease patients with a positive attitude live longer than those with a negative approach. Six hundred patients with coronary artery disease were studied to prove that those with a positive attitude are 42 percent less likely to die over a five-year period than those with a negative attitude.

The study also found that patients with a positive attitude are about twice as likely to exercise. It is still unclear whether a positive attitude increases patients’ motivation to exercise or if exercise puts patients in a better overall positive mood. Until researchers find which comes first, improving mood as well as increasing exercise may help patients live longer.

Besides exercise, there are other reasons why a positive attitude may be good for heart health. For instance, a positive outlook helps reduce levels of stress hormones and inflammatory markers. Also, people with a positive mindset tend to adopt other healthier lifestyle behaviors such as eating better, sleeping better, and not smoking.

In general, people who are optimistic are more likely to do things to take care of themselves. So start changing your mindset today and improve your overall health.

Exercise Mediates the Association Between Positive Affect and 5-Year Mortality in Patients With Ischemic Heart Disease, published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, 10 September 2013.