02/03/2011 11:00 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Positive Thinking Is Good For Your Heart

There's nothing new in the idea that having a sunny disposition could boost your health and wellbeing. But if you're not convinced being optimistic can help you be healthier, researchers at US-based Duke University have discovered something that may change your mind.

happy-woman-with-flowers-optimism Think happy thoughts and you could end up healthier. Photo: Corbis

Having a positive outlook is good for your heart, claims the researchers' study, which is published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. They made the discovery after following 2,800 patients who had been in hospital because they'd had heart disease. The researchers quizzed the patients on their outlook on life, and 15 years later they discovered the patients who had the most positive thoughts about their future were 30% more likely to have survived than the pessimistic patients.

The heart patients were asked to agree or disagree with statements such as, ' I can still live a long, healthy life', and 'I doubt that I'll ever fully recover', in order to assess how optimistic or pessimistic they were at the time.

And even after accounting for factors such as age, gender, income, depression and how serious their condition was, optimism was still strongly linked with the patients' chances of living a long life as well as being healthy, say the researchers.

So how does being optimistic make you healthier, you may wonder? Nobody really knows, though it could be something to do with the fact that optimistic people are more likely to cope better with illness and to not give up hope, plus they may well eat more healthily and take more exercise than those with negative personalities.

So tell us, are you a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty type of person?

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