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By Ann McCracken

In a  recent article from  the American Heart Association Journal – Circulation : Heart failure, researchers have clearly tied up Optimistic attitude to life with reduced chance of heart failure.

According to the research team, over 80% of heart failure diagnoses are in people aged 65 years and over. Therefore, they wanted to look at how optimism affects the risk of heart failure in older patients – a relationship they say has not been studied previously.In collaboration with investigators from Harvard University, the researchers analysed the background information, health history and psychological data of 6,808 older adults who were a part of the Health and Retirement Study.

All participants were followed for 4 years, and researchers took into account certain factors that could impact subjects’ heart failure risk, such as health behaviours, chronic illnesses, biological and demographic factors. The investigators found that individuals who had higher levels of optimism had a 73% lower risk of heart failure over the study period, compared with those who were pessimistic.

I believe it is not just the above age group who benefit but everyone. In a couple of our courses we focus on adaptability, mental flexibility and optimistic thinking – all of which are factors in Emotional Intelligence.  Such factors are key to sustaining healthy body chemicals/hormones and therefore key to good health.

This topic and other related subjects will be discussed at the Health @Work Summit 2014 in London on the 12 June. I look forward to seeing you there and hearing your opinions on this and other fascinating topics.

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Ann McCracken is a Director of AMC2 and the vice president of the International Management Association (ISMA UK) – the professional body for stress management Practitioners.

She specialises in developing a positive and resilient working culture in organisations by introducing effective strategies in performance and wellbeing at all levels. The effectiveness of such a positive working culture is measured and assessed using AMC2 Corporate Diagnostic innovative surveys which include measurement of psychosocial factors, stress and wellbeing. Having initially trained as a scientist, she carried out research with DEFRA and consultancy in the NHS.

She spent 10 years in Education before retraining as a stress management practitioner in 1996. She is the author of Stress Gremlins©, regularly writes/broadcasts and is an external lecturer at Westminster University. She is also a Key Note/Motivational speaker/Conference Chair.

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