An optimistic outlook has been shown to combat stress — a known risk factor for heart disease and other illnesses, U.S. researchers say.
Anthony Ong of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., conducted a review of researchers to determine if it is really true that feeling good may be good for health.
“We all age. It is how we age, however, that determines the quality of our lives,” Ong says in a statement.
The review, published in the Current Directions in Psychological Science, suggests positive emotions may be a powerful antidote to stress, pain and illness.
Ong speculates that happier people might take a proactive approach to aging by regularly exercising and budgeting time for a good night’s sleep, or people who have positive emotions may avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking and risky sex.
These benefits of a healthy lifestyle may become more important as adults age and their bodies become more susceptible to disease, Ong says.
In any event, the study says people with stronger positive emotions have lower levels of chemicals associated with inflammation related to stress.
Copyright United Press International 2011