I thought I’d cap off this week’s heart disease discussions with another interesting tidbit I came across recently—one that suggests that a bad attitude may be a bigger hazard to your health than you ever imagined.
Now, we all know that depression and anxiety don’t do your heart’s health any favors. But new research shows that hostility—marked by sarcasm, cynicism, resentment, impatience, or irritability—could be every bit as dangerous.
Chronic hostility kills
This study recently appeared in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, and it’s one of the largest to date to investigate the impact of hostility on heart attack patients.
Researchers looked at data from more than 2,300 heart attack survivors with an average age of 67 years—70 percent of which were men. Researchers gauged hostility using the Multiple Adjective Affect Checklist (MAACL). Then, they followed the patients for two years to monitor both recurrent heart attacks and death.
According to MAACL results, well over half scored as hostile. Ultimately, hostility didn’t predict recurrent heart attacks. But it did emerge as an independent predictor of death from a second heart attack. (And that’s after adjusting for other key factors—like sex, age, education level, marital status, and even diabetes, hypertension, and smoking.)
In other words, if you have heart disease, hostility could send you to an early grave. And learning how to manage your anger and resentment could be every bit as crucial to your longevity as diet, exercise, or smoking cessation.
The power of positivity
This news probably won’t surprise you. Especially since I’ve talked about the lifesaving power of optimism here before.
In fact, a small pilot study looked at data from nearly 50 stroke survivors to examine the links between optimism, inflammation, stroke severity, and disability in the three months following a stroke.
Researchers assessed optimism levels according to the Life Orientation Test (a standard psychological measuring tool). They also assessed stroke severity and levels of key inflammatory markers—including interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha, and C-reactive protein (CRP).
And get this: As levels of optimism rose, both stroke severity and levels of IL-6 and CRP dropped—even after accounting for a number of other variables. Which means, mental health—and a positive environment, specifically—appears to play a major role in stroke recovery.
I realize that protecting your mental health is harder now than ever before, given the state of the world today. But I share this information to remind you just how important your peace of mind is—not least of all for your heart.
P.S. There are numerous ways to help protect your heart, naturally, in addition to positivity. In fact, I outline an all-natural plan to prevent and reverse America’s biggest killers—high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke—in my Ultimate Heart Protection Protocol. To learn more about this innovative online learning tool, or to enroll today, click here now!
“Hostility linked with higher risk of death after second heart attacks.” Science Daily, 09/14/2020. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/09/200914194029.htm)