Posted on Feb 26, 2010, 6 a.m.
People who find joy, excitement, and contentment in their daily lives may be protected from cardiovascular disease.
In that positive affect, a measure of happiness, is believed to predict cardiovascular health independent of negative affect, Karina W. Davidson, from Columbia University Medical Center (New York, USA), and colleagues examined the association between positive affect and cardiovascular events in 1,739 adults (862 men and 877 women) in the 1995 Nova Scotia Health Survey. The team found that those subjects with higher levels of positive affect were at a significantly lower risk of having a cardiovascular event over a 10-year period, even after adjusting for negative emotions. The researchers conclude that: “In this large, population-based study, increased positive affect was protective against 10-year incident [coronary heart disease], suggesting that preventive strategies may be enhanced not only by reducing depressive symptoms but also by increasing positive affect.”
Karina W. Davidson, Elizabeth Mostofsky, William Whang. “Don't worry, be happy: positive affect and reduced 10-year incident coronary heart disease: The Canadian Nova Scotia Health Survey.” Eur. Heart J., February 17, 2010; doi: doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehp603.