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Heart Disease Health Center

Study: Happiness Good for the Heart

Positive People Have Less Heart Disease
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Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Research into happiness and how it impacts health, known as positive psychology, is a relatively new.

It was long believed that most people are hardwired to be either naturally happy or not, regardless of life events.

But this view has changed in recent years as more becomes known about the science of happiness, University of Michigan professor of medicine Bertram Pitt, MD, tells WebMD.

In an editorial published with the study, Pitt writes that interventions that focus on improving social skills and decreasing social anxiety may lower heart disease risk.

Both the study and editorial appear in the European Heart Journal.

Pitt cites numerous strategies that could help naturally negative people become happier, including:

  • Express gratitude on a regular basis.
  • Practice being optimistic.
  • Engage in frequent acts of kindness.
  • Visualize one's best self.
  • Savor joyful events.
  • Practice forgiveness.

"Finally, regular exercise and sexual activity and good sleep are all associated with increased self-reported happiness," he writes.

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