People who have a positive outlook are significantly less like to suffer a coronary event such as a heart attack or sudden cardiac death, according to new Johns Hopkins research.

Depression and anxiety have both already been shown to contribute to heart disease and fatal heart attacks.

This new research shows that “a general sense of well-being—feeling cheerful, relaxed, energetic and satisfied with life—actually reduces the chances of a heart attack,” a Johns Hopkins press release noted.

Study leader Lisa R. Yanek, M.P.H., an assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, emphasized that the mechanisms behind the protective effect of positive well-being remain unclear.

She also noted that her research offers insights into the interactions between mind and body, and could yield clues to those mechanisms in the future.

A report on the research is published in the American Journal of Cardiology.

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