Staying positive may improve cardiac health

Apr 12, 2011

Having a positive attitude can have both mental and physical benefits.

Patients suffering from heart disease who maintained a positive outlook on life were more likely to survive the ordeal than their pessimistic counterparts, according to a new study.

Published in the Archives on Internal Medicine, the research is the most recent to indicate that a positive attitude can do wonders for both the mind and body. To find the connection, scientists recruited almost 3,000 people suffering from coronary artery disease who had just undergone surgery and then tracked their health for 15 years. Those patients who looked at the bright side and reported a high expectation for recovery were ultimately 30 percent more likely to survive their ailment, and also maintained a more active lifestyle.

John Barefoot, one of the authors of the study, told Medscape Medical News that the results indicate a person's beliefs can significantly affect their future health and survival.

"We've known for a long time that a person's beliefs about their disease have an impact on certain aspects of recovery, such as going back to work and resuming a normal lifestyle," he said.

Seeing the glass half-full may keep a person healthier for longer, leading to lower life insurance rates. A study from the University of Texas discovered positive people were less likely to show signs of frailty as the age, indicating those people will live and maintain their independence longer than negative individuals.

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