Features April 2010 Issue

Positive Emotions May Protect Against Heart Disease

Research shows that people with feelings of happiness and contentment are less likely to develop heart disease.

The damaging effects depression can have on heart disease have been well publicized, but new research appears to show that a positive and upbeat emotional state can actually protect you against heart disease. In a study published in the Feb. 18 issue of the European Heart Journal, researchers found that people who ranked lowest on a scale measuring "positive affect" (the experience of pleasurable emotions such as joy, happiness, excitement, enthusiasm and contentment) had a 22 percent higher risk of ischemic heart disease (heart attack or angina) than those with little positive affect, who had, in turn, a 22 percent higher risk than those with moderate positive affect.

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