People who have positive psychological well-being may be more likely to engage in heart-healthy behaviors such as exercising, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding smoking, all behaviors that also reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.
These researchers reviewed the evidence linking well-being and health behaviors, and described strategies to enhance well-being studied by others, and the implications for cardiovascular health.
The authors categorize interventions designed to enhance well-being as:
Most well-being interventions were short-term in duration (6 to 12 weeks), inexpensive to implement, and conducted without a clinician. Well-being was found to be a consequence of engaging in the behaviors described, and that may lead to healthier behaviors, creating a “virtuous cycle” that contributes to cardiovascular health.
This study is one in a series supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio to explore Positive Health, an emerging concept that seeks to demonstrate that in addition to health risks, people also have health assets, which can be strengthened to produce a healthier life. These health assets could include biological factors, such as high heart rate variability; subjective factors, such as optimism; and functional factors, such as a stable marriage.