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The Surprising Power of Happiness

The Surprising Power of Happiness

If you had to choose a theme song for your life, would it be, "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" or "Don't Worry, Be Happy"? Great news if you picked the latter: You're less likely to have a heart attack.

New British research has found that the more satisfied you are with your life, the lower your danger of coronary heart disease. If you stay positive and increase your happiness, you will have a healthy heart.

Happy life, happy heart
While it's long been known that negative emotions, such as depression and anxiety, put you at risk for heart disease, there's been surprisingly little research on whether positive emotions prevent coronary trouble. To find out, scientists asked nearly 8,000 people to rate their satisfaction in seven key areas of life: jobs, family, love, leisure, standard of living, sex, and self. Those who scored higher-than-average satisfaction in all categories had up to 13 percent less risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and angina. That's major.

People who were happier in four areas—jobs, families, sex lives, and selves—also had healthier hearts. But feeling content in just the other three areas—leisure activities, love relationships, and standard of living—didn't have a significant impact. 

C'mon, get happy
While it's not yet clear exactly how feeling good about your life helps your heart, it's well established that happiness is vital to your health. Studies have repeatedly found that happy people produce fewer stress-related hormones, have stronger immune systems, and live longer.

Ready to turn that frown upside down?

Medically reviewed in March 2019.

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