Being happy may be good for your heart. Positive emotions, such as joy, happiness, excitement, enthusiasm, and contentment have an association with cardiovascular health, according to a new Columbia University Medical Center study.
The first of its kind to show a relationship between positive emotions and coronary heart disease, the observational research examined a trial population that had suffered cardiac events. Findings indicate that heart disease may be prevented by enhancing people’s positive emotions.
Over a 10-year period, researchers discovered that increased experience of positive emotion was associated with less risk of heart disease by 22 percent.
“We also found that if someone, who was usually positive, had some depressive symptoms at the time of the survey, this did not affect their overall lower risk of heart disease,” says Karina Davidson, Ph.D., lead author and associate professor of medicine and psychiatry.
Emotions may affect heart health in several ways. Individuals experiencing positive emotions may have longer periods of rest or relaxation physiologically and may recover more quickly from stressors that can cause physiological damage.
Positive emotion can have an influence on heart-rate variability, sleeping patterns and smoking cessation. There is increasing evidence that positive emotions are associated with beneficial physical and psychological health outcomes, such as:
• Improvements in immune system functioning.
• Better coping ability with stressful situations.
• Improved recovery from illness or surgery.
• Fewer physical complaints.
• Greater protection against physical disability.
Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy for the treatment of a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director.