A recent study shows that an optimistic attitude has a huge impact on the long-term survival of heart patients.

 The study, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, reports that heart patients with optimistic attitudes have a 30% greater chance of survival after 15 years.

 Heart patients were followed for 15 years, and 2,800 people were included in the study, making it the largest and longest study of its type. Regardless of gender, severity of heart disease, income, or depression, optimism is still a robust, solid indicator of an improved outcome.

 Why is this?

 Optimistic people may be better able to problem solve and use good coping skills. They may have stronger social connections and be more compliant with medical care. Because they handle stress differently, they may have fewer physical complications from stress.

 How does this relate to you?

 There are clear benefits of cultivating an optimistic outlook on life. A more positive attitude will help you reduce stress, feel more relaxed, lead to better sleep, and help you enjoy the people around you. You may be more motivated to take good care of yourself and have a better quality of life.

 Cardiac rehabilitation programs are a great way for heart patients to strengthen their resilience and optimism. Exercising under supervision, being around other people, and learning healthy behaviors all lead to improved cardiac outcomes as well.

 In the 19 years that I’ve been providing psychosocial consultation for our local cardiac rehab program, I’ve seen hundreds of heart patients improve their prognosis by making positive lifestyle changes.

 Developing a more optimistic outlook really can be life-changing and life-extending!

 See an abstract of the Archives of Internal Medicine: http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/archinternmed.2011.41v1

 Cardiac rehabilitation at Haywood Regional Medical Center: http://www.haymed.org/cardiac-rehabilitation.html

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