Better attitude equals better health

By • Published: July 14th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Are you the worried-every-freckle-is-cancer type who sees a tornado in every rain cloud?

Then this message is for you… Cut it out.

Multiple studies show that being Mr. Storm Cloud or Ms. Negative Nancy takes its toll on a person’s health. Of course, this is the kind of negative news a pessimist can truly support, so take note of the following ways that sourpuss outlook could affect you.

In a recent study of heart disease patients, Duke University researchers showed that the glass-half-empty set seemed to fare worse after treatment than those with sunnier outlooks. The risk of dying six to ten years after treatment actually doubled for patients who viewed their situations more negatively.

Other studies show that gloomy men face three times the risk of developing high blood pressure and twice the risk of developing heart disease than happier folk.

Researchers say positive thinkers may be more apt to heed doctors’ advice. And there may be power in those positive thoughts. A separate Duke study found that optimists had fewer blood pressure spikes during stressful situations than their pessimistic peers.

But researchers admit the power positive thinking plays in prompting good health may be like the chicken and the egg… it’s hard to say which comes first.

So what’s a gloomy Gus to do? Expert advice is mixed. Some advise seeking help in case it’s depression, or suggest taking up exercise or meditation. Others demur, saying it’s unlikely people will change their dispositions.

Now who sounds pessimistic?