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Published: December, 2019

Want something simple to boost your health? Try looking on the bright side. A large observational study published online Sept. 27, 2019, by JAMA Network Open tied optimism to fewer heart attacks and a lower risk for premature death. Researchers combed through 15 studies that included almost 230,000 people who were followed for an average of 14 years. Being optimistic was associated with a 35% lower risk for cardiovascular events and a 14% lower risk for an early death, compared with being pessimistic. The findings don't prove that seeing the glass half-full causes better health, but many other studies have reported similar findings. "Optimistic people may have healthier habits, such as regular exercise and healthy diets; and they may be better at regulating their emotions in stressful situations, which could also contribute to lower levels of inflammation. But we need more research to confirm it," says Dr. Laura Kubzansky, a study author and co-director of the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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