There is an old hymn, which says we should keep on the sunny side of life. Harvard University scientists agree. They report, that middle aged people who are optimistic, looking at the bright side of life, were found to have better levels of HDL good cholesterol, and lower levels of triglycerides, the fatty molecules which cause hardening of the arteries.
The researchers believe part of the reason is that optimistic individuals have overall better body weight and eating habits. They viewed data, from a study entitled Midlife in the United States, where 990 people between ages 40-70 were analyzed.
Questions were posed, regarding perspective on issues of life. Those who, based on their answers showed a higher level of optimism, had more high density lipoprotein, (HDL) the good cholesterol which is believed to offer protection from heart disease. For every 5 point increase on the optimism scale, HDL within the blood stream increased by one milligram, per deciliter. This amounts to a 3 percent reduction in heart disease risk.
In a study done by the Harvard School of Public Health, those who remain optimistic had a 50% less chance of heart disease, than those whose attitudes were negative. According to the September 9th 2013 edition of Women’s World Magazine, Harvard scientist also reported that women who remain upbeat have a higher levels of antioxidants, called carotenoids, which give protection against ovarian and breast cancer.
Research from the University of Pittsburgh indicates that optimistic women, who see the glass as half full, live longer than those who are pessimistic and view the glass as half empty. They report that happy people feel better about themselves, will not over indulge in fatty foods or become couch potatoes.
Middle age is a difficult time of life. Women deal with slower metabolism, menopause, weight gain and loss of girlish figures. Men may have a lower sex drive, decreased muscle mass, and loss of hair. In addition, men and women may experience new physical ailments, adjusting to life, after the death of parents, dealing with divorce, career changes or financial issues.
The bible says in Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. By the time you are in your 40’s and older , much has happened in life that can put a sour taste in your mouth. If your circumstances right now, do not give you a reason to view the glass half full, begin today to look for the roses within all the thorns. Try each day to find something you can be thankful for, or be optimistic about.
Recently my husband and I attended a funeral. Instead of focusing on the death, I listened to the testimonies of how this woman had touched so many lives. Afterwards we caught up with people we had not seen in years. By the time we returned home, I felt I had been to a reunion, instead of a funeral service.
I heard a saying in church a few decades ago, that attitude determines altitude. When it comes to a healthy heart, attitude may determine whether you live or die. If you need help improving your outlook, consider a line from a song from the World War I; “What’s the use of worrying, it never was worth while, so pack up your troubles in your old kit bag, and smile smile smile!”