Satisfaction With Life Seems Good for the Heart

Happiness in four key areas -- job, family, sex and self -- may protect coronary health, study suggests

WEDNESDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) -- Being satisfied with your life can be good for your heart.

That's the finding of a new study that included almost 8,000 British civil servants, average age 49, who were asked about their satisfaction in seven areas of their lives: romantic relationships, leisure activities, job, family, sex, standard of living and one's self.

Over a follow-up period of about six years, higher levels of overall life satisfaction were associated with a statistically significant 13 percent reduced risk of coronary heart disease. Satisfaction in four main areas -- job, family, sex and self -- was also associated with a 13 percent reduced risk of heart disease.

The reduced risk, however, was not associated with love relationships, leisure activities or standard of living, the researchers found.

"Taken together, this research indicates that being satisfied with specific life domains -- in particular, one's job, family, sex life and self -- is a positive health asset associated with a reduction in incident coronary heart disease independently of traditional risk factors," the researchers wrote in a news release from the European Society of Cardiology.

The study was published online July 4 in the European Heart Journal.

The findings suggest that people at high risk for heart disease may benefit from programs to boost a positive state of mind, study author Dr. Julia Boehm, of Harvard School of Public Health, noted in the news release.

More information

The American Heart Association offers ways to fight stress.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: European Society of Cardiology, news release, July 4, 2011

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