Patients who reported higher positive psychological states were more likely to be physically active, sleep better and take their heart medications and were also less likely to smoke, compared to patients with lower levels of positive states.

"Negative emotions and depression are known to have harmful effects on health, but it is less clear how positive emotions might be health-protective," said Nancy L Sin, postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Healthy Aging and in the department of biobehavioural health at Penn State.

"We found that positive emotions are associated with a range of long-term health habits, which are important for reducing the risk of future heart problems and death," Sin said.

The researchers assessed psychological well-being of participants at baseline and again at a five-year follow-up by asking the participants to rate the extent that they had felt 10 specified positive emotions, including 'interested', 'proud', 'enthusiastic' and 'inspired'.

Physical activity, sleep quality, medication adherence and alcohol and cigarette use were also measured at baseline and again five years later.

"Higher levels of positive emotions were associated with less smoking, greater physical activity, better sleep quality and more adherence to medications" at baseline, said the researchers.

People with greater positive well-being may be more motivated and persistent in engaging in healthy behaviours. They might have more confidence in their abilities to maintain routines such as physical activity and sleep hygiene.

The study is published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.


Latest News from Lifestyle News Desk