08 May Happiness in the news – it’s good for your heart!
Study: Smile – happiness is good for you
Happiness is good for the heart – and new evidence shows that may be true in the literal sense and not just the figurative.
A study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences looked at the link between happiness and a number of health markers for more than 200 adults. All of the men and women who participated in the study were government employees living in London, England, and were white, between the ages of 45 and 59, had never been diagnosed with heart disease or high blood pressure, and had several years to go before retirement. All the women involved in the study had gone through menopause or were going through it.
The researchers assessed each participant on a work day and on a weekend day. Participants were measured both at work and at play on a number of criteria, including blood pressure and heart rate, levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and blood fibrinogen levels, a marker for inflammation that can be a predictor of heart disease.
Measurements were taken both under normal conditions and following a mental stress test. Under each condition, participants rated their happiness on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high).
There were no differences in happiness between people who were married or single, male or female, or of varying levels of socioeconomic status. But across the board, the happiest participants had the best results for the various health markers.
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