Happiness linked to healthy heart

New research shows that people who are cheery are less likely to develop heart disease than those who are down in the dumps.

There's been speculation that people with a positive attitude have stronger hearts.

The Canadian scientists say their decade-long study, which is published in the European Heart Journal, has produced the first objective data to support the belief.

Psychiatrist Dr Karina Davidson, who is now working at Columbia University in New York, began the study more than 10 years ago.

Her team filmed interviews with more than 1700 people in Nova Scotia, Canada.

"We asked them about daily hassles, their daily routine, hypotheticals, what they do in certain situations and then the video tapes were coded for the amount of positive emotions or positive affect that was expressed," says Davidson.

The scientists tracked the people for a decade and at the end found those who had shown the most happiness and satisfaction were less likely to have had a heart attack.

"The very happiest people were quite protected from heart disease," says Davidson. "Those who showed moderate amount were somewhat protected and those who showed none at all were at increased risk."

She says the study revealed a positive attitude reduces the risk of heart disease by 22%.


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