Food for Thought
The Power is within… YOU!
Published Thursday, 08-Jul-2010 in issue 1176
We have all experienced the power of optimism. It is a product of a positive outlook leading to a positive outcome. The more upbeat we are about a project, task, event or undertaking, the more likely we are to enjoy the journey, enhancing the end result. We are in essence what we think, and what we think actually matters in some very important ways.
People who are enthusiastic and content are less likely to develop heart disease than less happy people, researchers from Columbia University report. In this prospective study of the relationship between happiness and heart disease, researchers concluded that if everyone did more of the things that made them happy, they could significantly reduce their risk of heart attack and angina. “We were excited to discover in a large population-based sample of adults that the tendency to express positive emotion predicted fewer heart attacks across a period of 10 years,” said lead researcher Karina Davidson, director of Columbia’s Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health. “The study suggests that those people who are happier have heart-protective outcomes, and they may also be physiologically different than those of us who are more unhappy.” Davidson speculated that several factors may combine to produce this effect. Happier people tend to sleep better and to practice more heart-healthy behaviors. In addition, these people tend to have less stress in their lives and handle their stress better than less happy people, she added. The report is published in the Feb. 18 issue of the European Heart Journal.
Furthermore, new research suggests an optimistic outlook might strengthen your body’s ability to fight off infection, “The finding doesn’t prove that looking on the sunny side leads to better health, but it does add to evidence of a link between attitude and disease by suggesting that a single person — with the same personality and genes — has different immune function when he or she feels more or less optimistic,” said study author Suzanne C. Segerstrom, a professor in the department of psychology at the University of Kentucky. The researchers, who reported their findings in the March issue of Psychological Science, found that the immune response became more powerful in individuals as they became more optimistic over time, and lessened as they became more pessimistic. “When people felt more optimistic, they also felt more happy, attentive and joyous, and that accounted for some of the relationship between optimism and immunity,” Segerstrom said.
It’s good for your quality of life and mental health to engage in things on a daily basis that make you happy and feel good about yourself. Although maintaining a positive persona and outlook may be factors associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and disease in general, regular exercise, not smoking, a healthy diet and maintaining optimal blood pressure, cholesterol levels and staying within your healthy weight range are essential to your well-being. Plus, you just can’t beat the feeling you get when your workout is done, you’ve accomplished something for you and your mirror shows it. Talk about feeling optimistic!
For more information contact Fitness Together (619) 794-0014.