Health Hack: Optimism May Be Your Best Health Insurance

“In some studies, researchers have concentrated on the link between optimism and specific medical conditions. DeSylva and Kern tell us that a heart full of joy and gladness can banish trouble and strife — and now scientists tell us that optimism may help the heart itself. In one study, doctors evaluated 309 middle-aged patients who were scheduled to undergo coronary artery bypass surgery. In addition to a complete pre-operative physical exam, each patient underwent a psychological evaluation designed to measure optimism, depression, neuroticism, and self-esteem. The researchers tracked all the patients for six months after surgery. When they analyzed the data, they found that optimists were only half as likely as pessimists to require re-hospitalization. In a similar study of 298 angioplasty patients, optimism was also protective; over a six-month period, pessimists were three times more likely than optimists to have heart attacks or require repeat angioplasties or bypass operations.”

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