Optimism significantly reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes

Optimism significantly reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes

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Effects of optimism on our health

Optimistic people have a risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke that is reduced by more than a third. It is therefore clear that a positive basic attitude can improve our health.

In the current study by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has now been found that an optimistic attitude reduces the likelihood of heart attacks and strokes. The results of the study were published in the English language journal "JAMA Network Open".

Health benefits through optimism

Optimism seems to massively reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes in people. This was the conclusion reached by the research group when analyzing data from previous studies, in which 230,000 people from all over the world had participated and were medically monitored for up to 14 years. People who described themselves as optimists suffered a stroke up to 35 percent less often. In addition, they were 14 percent less likely to die prematurely than non-optimistic people.

Why do optimists have better health?

According to the researchers, the current study was the first meta-analysis to assess the relationship between optimism and clinical results. The established cardiovascular and psychological advantages of optimism make this field of research interesting for further investigations.

The reasons why optimism is linked to better health were not included in the study. This is probably due to a combination of factors, the researchers explain. Optimists usually have less stress, stick to a healthy diet more often and exercise regularly.

Optimistic people live longer

The results are in line with a study that was carried out by the Boston University of Medicine earlier this year. This investigation showed that an optimistic attitude can significantly increase life expectancy. “The results suggest that optimism is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality. Future studies should aim to better define the underlying bio-behavior mechanisms and assess the potential benefits of measures to promote optimism or reduce pessimism, ”the researchers explain. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Alan Rozanski, Chirag Bavishi, Laura D. Kubzansky, Randy Cohen: Association of Optimism With Cardiovascular Events and All-Cause Mortality, in JAMA Network Open (query: 30.09.2019), JAMA Network Open

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