The Power of a Cheerful Heart
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. – Proverbs 17:22
This encouraging proverb has been around for thousands of years. Taking it at face value, it states that our attitudes can affect our health and the power of cheerfulness affects us physically.
Can having a cheerful heart really influence a person’s physical well-being? What is the medicinal value of a positive attitude and a cheery disposition?
I’ve always thought of cheerfulness as a gift that you give to those around you. If your family, friends, and neighbours have to put up with you, the least you can do is offer them a cheerful attitude in return.
Genuine cheerfulness makes any social interaction much more pleasant. Wouldn’t you rather be with someone who has a positive attitude as opposed to a whiner or complainer?
And how amazing would it be to find that cheerfulness actually has a benefit for the person practicing it?
Apparently, researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have undertaken just such a study.
Is it possible to have a medicinal heart?
The study looked at 1,483 siblings of those who had been diagnosed with coronary disease before the age of 60. These brothers and sisters statistically have twice the risk of developing heart problems compared to the general population. Heart disease tends to run in families.
Researchers looked at “factors such as mood, concern about health, relaxed versus anxious disposition, life satisfaction and energy levels.”
Results showed that a cheerful heart (disposition) really did influence the health of participants. In other words, having a good attitude really did act like a medicine, at least as far as heart health is concerned.
As reported in the American Journal of Cardiology:
Positive well-being was linked to a one-third reduction in coronary events.
And among participants otherwise considered to have the highest risk for coronary events, this risk was reduced by 50% when linked to positive well-being.
These links persisted when the researchers took out the effect of other influencing factors such as age, diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.”
– Read about it at: Medical News Today
The Power of Cheerfulness Affects Our Health
So not only is a positive attitude a blessing to those around you, it is also a blessing to yourself, as it can result in improved health.
When you are tempted to whine and complain, try to think of something good to say instead.
When you are tempted to say something negative or sarcastic, say something positive or helpful instead.
When you are tempted to dwell on all the bad things that might happen, try to imagine a better outcome.
Take advantage of the power of cheerfulness. Those around you will be happier, and you just might be happier and healthier yourself.
“Effect of Positive Well-Being on Incidence of Symptomatic Coronary Artery Disease”; Lisa R. Yanek, Brian G. Kral, Taryn F. Moy, Dhananjay Vaidya, and others; American Journal of Cardiology, In Press Corrected Proof, 01 July 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2013.05.055; Additional source: Hopkins Medicine media release.
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