Mental Health And Heart Disease – Part 2 of 3
Based on their responses, the participants were then divided into four groups, ranging from the least optimistic to the most optimistic. The researchers behind the new study then scored each group’s understanding health by reviewing information such as body mass index (BMI), smoking status, dietary and physical activity routines, blood pressure, fasting glucose levels and cholesterol levels. The result: the optimists were between 50 percent and 76 percent more reasonable to have total heart health scores in the intermediate or ideal ranges.
Optimists were also found to have better blood sugar and cholesterol levels, a healthier BMI status, and more rigorous physically labour habits than those in the least optimistic group. Asked how optimism might make the heart beat better, Hernandez said the jury’s still out on that question. “There is the guess that at least one of the mechanisms that explains this could be that people who are more optimistic are engaging in healthier behavior.
But it also might be that people who are more optimistic might be able to cope a little better with stressful events. The study didn’t glance at this, but we do want to explore it. “It’s a complex question that has to be examined more carefully”. Kit Yarrow, professor emeritus of consumer psychology at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, said she thinks Hernandez’s findings are “very exciting. There’s a lot of mental research linking pro-social behaviors to better health.