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Learn More about the Heart/Smile Connection

By Sandy Schroeder

We all know it's better to greet the day with a smile, but sometimes that can be a challenge. If I am out of coffee and cat food, my world tilts a bit. As the cat circles his empty dish and I try to wake up without coffee, I dash out to the store and the day is saved! A scowl changes to a smile.

If you can relate, you may be interested to know new research says smiling with a heartfelt attitude is one of the healthiest things that you can do to protect your heart.

Newsmax spotlighted this research in JAMA Network Open, which says a sunny view of life could guard against strokes, heart attacks and early death. Mount Sinai St. Luke's Hospital lead researcher Dr. Alan Rozanski said "We found optimists had a 35 percent lower risk for the most serious complications due to heart disease, compared to pessimists."

The research reviewed 15 studies involving a total of 230,000 women and men, ranging from teens to seniors in their 90s. Overall this mind/body optimism connection worked for all ages, according to Dr. Rozanski.

The studies found the more positive the outlook on the life the less risk for heart disease or premature death.

I can think of many people that I have known who always managed to produce a smile in spite of what life tossed at them. My grandmother had seven children and a whole bunch of active grandchildren, but I always remember her smiling.  My dad was the oldest of seven children and a war veteran, but he always had a twinkle in his eye and a welcome word for everybody around him.

Looking Into the Future

In the research, some had upbeat expectations in spite of world uncertainty. Other viewers said they never assumed things would work out over time. The researchers said optimism did not guarantee positive results, but it did point to better health habits and effective life skills, which may work together for overall health.

  • They are better at problem-solving
  • They have smarter coping skills
  • They usually meet their goals
  • They tend to monitor their health
  • They often have better diets
  • They exercise more

The researchers said the data points to direct biological benefits from optimism, while pessimism may be damaging to health, contributing to depression. They said these results may lead to new mind/body treatments in the area of behavioral therapy in optimism.

For each of us, it might be worth breaking out the smiles whenever we can to keep our hearts happier.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Coppell, Tex.

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