Boehm and her team reviewed more than 200 studies on cardiovascular health, and found optimism and positive well-being not only better protected against heart disease, but having these traits improved other biological functions and lead to living a healthier lifestyle. Boehm said people with a more positive outlook on life and exercised more, ate healthier and slept better. Additionally they were physically healthier, and were less likely to have high cholesterol, high blood pressure or be obese.

After ruling out other heart disease risk factors such as age, body weight, socioeconomic status or smoking, the protective benefits from thinking positively remained: The most optimistic individuals were 50 percent less likely to experience a cardiovascular event like a heart attack or stroke, compared with their less optimistic peers, one study in the review showed.