TIME Heart Disease

How Optimism Might Be Good for Your Heart

New research links a positive attitude with cardiovascular health

A new study finds that an optimistic outlook on life might be good for your heart—and not in the metaphorical, warm-and-fuzzy kind of way.

People with an upbeat, can-do attitude also have significantly better cardiovascular health, according to researchers at the University of Illinois.

“Individuals with the highest levels of optimism have twice the odds of being in ideal cardiovascular health compared to their more pessimistic counterparts,” said lead study author Rosalba Hernandez. “This association remains significant, even after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics and poor mental health.”

The study analyzed the mental health, physical health and levels of optimism of 5,100 adults ranging from 45 to 84 years of age. Heart health scores—based on American Heart Association-approved metrics including blood pressure and body mass index—increased alongside levels of optimism.

This isn’t the first study that has linked overall positivity to heart health. In 2012, Harvard researchers found associations between optimism, hope, and overall satisfaction with life with reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.

Read next: 6 Signs You’re Not Working Out Hard Enough

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