Gratitude and Positive Attitude can Lead to a Healthier Heart

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Take a  look at this study in the American Journal of Cardiology. The Effects of Emotions on Short-Term Power Spectrum Analysis of Heart Rate Variability by Rollin McCraty, Mike Atkinson, William Tiller, Glen Rein, and Alan D. Watkins is a study that “utilizes heart rate variability analysis to examine a new method of intentionally shifting emotions lead to alterations in sympathovagal balance that may be beneficial in the treatment of hypertension.”


Salivary IgA, heart rate and mood were measured in thirty individuals before and after experiencing care or anger. Two methods of inducing the emotional states were compared: self-induction and external induction via video tapes. Anger produced a significant increase in total mood disturbance and heart rate, but not in S-IgA levels. Positive emotions, on the other hand, produced a significant increase in S-IgA levels. Examining the effects over a six hour period we observed that anger, in contrast to care, produced a significant inhibition of S-IgA from one to five hours after the emotional experience. Results indicate that self-induction of positive emotional states is more effective at stimulating S-IgA levels than previously used external methods. Self-induction techniques may therefore be useful in minimizing the immunosuppressive effects of negative emotions.

Results suggest that positive emotions lead to alterations in HRV, which may be beneficial in the treatment of hypertension and in reducing the likelihood of sudden death in patients with congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease.

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