People who are usually happy, enthusiastic and content are less likely to develop heart disease than those who tend not to be happy, according to a major new study
The authors believe that the study, published in the Europe's leading cardiology journal, the European Heart Journal, is the first to show such an independent relationship between positive emotions and coronary heart disease.
Dr Karina Davidson, who led the research, said that although this was an observational study, her study did suggest that it might be possible to help prevent heart disease by enhancing people's positive emotions. However, she cautioned that it would be premature to make clinical recommendations without clinical trials to investigate the findings further.
After taking account of age, sex, cardiovascular risk factors and negative emotions, the researchers found that, over the ten-year period of the study, increased positive affect predicted less risk of heart disease by 22% per point on a five-point scale measuring levels of positive affect expression (ranging from "none" to "extreme").
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