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Happiness can reduce the risk of heart disease

18 February 2010 Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

Man with happy faceA study that took place over a 10 years period revealed that people who are usually happy an enthusiastic are less likely to develop heart disease.  The study coordinated by Dr. Karina Davidson of Columbia University Medical Center is the first research to find such a strong connection between positive emotions and a reduced risk of heart disease.

The study was conducted on 1739 healthy men and women over a 10 years period and assessed the participants’ heart disease risk. The study measured negative emotions like hostility, depression, anxiety as well as positive emotions like happiness, excitement, enthusiasm and joy. The positive emotions were ranked across five levels ranging from “none” to “extreme” and it was noted that people with more positive emotions had a lower risk of heart disease.

“Participants with no positive affect were at a 22 percent higher risk of … heart attack or angina … than those with a little positive affect, who were themselves at 22 percent higher risk than those with moderate positive effect,” said Karina Davidson of Columbia University Medical Center. Davidson’s team said that a possible reason for the link between heart risk and happiness could be that people who are happier tend to have longer periods of rest or relaxation and may recover more quickly from stressful events.

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