|| DukeMedNews || Positive Outlook Linked to Longer Life in Heart Patients

This week on MedMinutes: Positive Outlook Linked to Longer Life in Heart Patients

A long-term study compared survival rates for heart patients based on their positive and negative emotions and outlooks. Patients reporting more positive emotions and fewer negative ones had a significant reduction in the risk of death.

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Here’s some health advice to take to heart: if you want to live longer, stay happy. A recent study of more than 800 heart patients found that those who reported more positive emotions such as happiness, optimism and joy were 20 percent more likely to be alive after 11 years than those who more often experienced negative emotions like sadness and anger. Beverly Brummett, assistant research professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center, conducted the study.

“It could just be that the people that are experiencing more positive emotions just by definition are having a lower frequency of negative emotions and that’s what’s driving the reduction in mortality.”

Brummett says that the adverse health effects of negative emotions are well known, but that researchers may also want to look more closely at the benefits of positive emotions.

“It could be that there’s something very unique about the physiological things that go on when we experience positive emotions – something in the serotonin system, something going on about blood pressure, heart rate, those sorts of things. This is such a new area of research that we just don’t really know.”