Being happy and staying positive may help ward off heart disease, a study suggests.
US researchers monitored the health of 1,700 people over 10 years, finding the most anxious and depressed were at the highest risk of the disease. They could not categorically prove happiness was protective, but said people should try to enjoy themselves. But experts suggested the findings may be of limited use as an individual's approach to life was often ingrained.
At the start of the study, which was published in the European Heart Journal, participants were assessed for emotions ranging from hostility and anxiousness to joy, enthusiasm and contentment. They were given a rating on a five-point scale to score their level of positive emotions. By the end of the analysis, some 145 had developed heart disease - fewer than one in 10.
But for each rise in the happiness scale there was a 22% lower risk of developing heart disease.