How Positivity Protects Your Heart

Research suggests that being optimistic might play an important role in helping you live longer and preventing cardiovascular disease.

Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. No one likes to feel tricked, especially about their health. That’s why every weekday, we make sense of the confusing world of wellness with quick tips designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Stat of the week

  • How positivity protects your heart

  • Arnold Q&A

Arnold’s Podcast

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Stat of the Week: 4 Nights

Researchers at the University of Chicago found that just four nights of sleeping less than six hours can reduce insulin sensitivity by 30 percent.

When your insulin functions well, your fat cells will remove fatty acids and lipids from your bloodstream and prevent storage. But, when you become more insulin resistant, fats (lipids) circulate in your blood and pump out more insulin.

Eventually, this excess insulin stores fat in all the wrong places, such as tissues like your liver. And this is exactly how you become fatter and suffer from diseases like diabetes.

How Positivity Protects Your Heart

We all have bad days, but developing a positive mindset does much more than elevate your mood. 

Research suggests that being optimistic might play an important role in helping you live longer and preventing cardiovascular disease.

The last 20 years of research have focused more on the relationship between your mindset and health. It used to be that poor health leads to a negative mindset, but it could be that your mindset triggers worse behaviors and health outcomes. 

Scientists analyzed 15 studies on nearly 230,000 people and found that more optimistic people experienced a 35 percent reduction in heart attack, stroke, and cardiac death compared to pessimistic subjects. And another study found that optimistic people live 15 percent longer.

It appears that being optimistic makes it more likely that you’ll engage in good behaviors such as exercising, eating well, and interacting with friends. And pessimism pushes you in the opposite direction of doing less healthy activities and making it more likely that you’ll smoke, drink alcohol, and build other health-harming habits. 

A negative mindset can also lead to physiological changes that affect your health, such as increased inflammation and damage to your metabolic health. 

Becoming more optimistic is easier said than done, but it’s also very doable with practice. Therapy (especially cognitive-behavioral) is one of the most effective routes, but there are also some DIY methods, including:

Mindfulness and meditation: Studies suggest that paying attention to your feelings and emotions without judgment can decrease pessimism and increase optimism by reducing ruminative thinking.

Gratitude: Actively focusing on and recording the positive aspects of your life can shift attention away from negativity and promote a more optimistic outlook.

Building resilience: Developing problem-solving skills, understanding that failure is part of the path to success, and sharing your struggles with friends can help individuals bounce back from adversities, promoting optimism about future challenges.

Setting and working towards personal goals: Arnold talks about the importance of a vision, and science backs him up. Setting goals can provide a sense of purpose and boost confidence, which nurtures optimism.

Arnold Q&A

Yesterday, Arnold did another Q&A in The Pump app. Here are some answers he thought you might enjoy.

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Thanks again for joining us for another week. We love building the positive corner of the internet and providing tips to help you live a healthier, happier life. Have a fantastic weekend!

-Arnold, Adam, and Daniel

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell