Positive psychological well-being, especially optimism, protects against the incidence, and somewhat against the progression, of cardiovascular disease through a broad array of mechanisms, according to this extensive literature review.
Research suggests that optimistic individuals are more likely to live a healthier and longer life. However, more longitudinal studies are necessary to learn more about when, why, how and for whom optimism plays a role in good health and whether interventions that enhance optimism will yield health benefits.
Data from the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative study of people age 50 and older, was used to assess whether individuals with optimistic attitudes had lower incidence of stroke. Researchers found that people who are optimistic have a positive outlook on life and may choose to have a healthier lifestyle than those who are pessimistic—and that may increase their health and well-being.
Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through a grant, "Exploring the Concept of Positive Health," to the Positive Psychology Center of the University of Pennsylvania.