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#202 A happy heart is a healthy heart

Back in July the European Heart Journal carried some very hopeful news. They reported on part of the Whitehall II study that is following about 8000 British civil servants to see what affects their health and quality of life as they age.

One of the things they discovered was that satisfaction with life acted as a shield against heart disease. They asked participants to rate their satisfaction in seven areas: love relationships, leisure activities, standards of living, job, family, sex, and one’s self. Then they compared those ratings with health records.

When participants were satisfied in four areas—job, family, sex and self—their risk of heart disease dropped by 13%, a finding that worked for both men and women. More satisfaction equaled more protection against heart disease.

Like all careful scientists, the researchers are not claiming they have found the holy grail of longevity or even of healthy hearts. And I’ve met some pretty miserable old sods who don’t seem satisfied with anything.

But it makes sense to me that people who see the glass as half full are likely to be healthier than those who see it as half full, and that gives me hope.


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