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Speak Well Being

Serving hospitals, healthcare and women's groups

For Your Well Being: Thinking Positive? Take it to Heart

July 26, 2012, Vol. 10, Issue 14

Dear Friends,

It’s not too early to be planning heart health events for next February — or any time of year for that matter.  With heart disease as the #1 killer of women, we can’t have too much information and education circulating and motivating women to take care of their heart health.  Are you ready for a little different angle on the topic?

We always hear about the studies showing that negative states such as depression, anger, anxiety, and hostility are detrimental to heart health. But what about positive psychological characteristics? Could they influence heart health in a good way? Turns out the answer is yes. In the first and largest systematic review on this topic to date, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers found the positive: psychological well being appears to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular events. And that news could affect your program choices around heart health – for the better.

Good news and it gets better . . . The press release from HSPH highlighted the results of the study.

Positive Feelings May Help Protect Cardiovascular Health

It’s important to note that an absence of the negative is not the same as the presence of the positive, according to lead author Julia Boehm, research fellow in the Department of Society, Human Development, and Health at HSPH. “We found that factors such as optimism, life satisfaction, and happiness are associated with reduced risk of CVD (Cardio-Vascular Disease) regardless of such factors as a person’s age, socioeconomic status, smoking status, or body weight,” she said. “For example, the most optimistic individuals had an approximately 50% reduced risk of experiencing an initial cardiovascular event compared to their less optimistic peers.”

In a review of over 200 studies published in two major scientific databases, Boehm and lead author Laura Kubzansky, associate professor of society, human development and health at HSPH, found that psychological assets such as optimism and positive emotion actually afford protection against cardiovascular disease. It also appears that in patients with CVD these factors slow progression of the disease.

To further understand how psychological well being and and CVD might be related, Boehm and Kubzansky also investigated an association between well being on the one hand and cardiovascular-related health behaviors and biological markers on the other. They found that in the first place, individuals with a sense of well being engaged in healthier behaviors such as exercising, eating a balanced diet, and getting sufficient sleep. In addition, greater well being was related to better biological function, such as lower blood pressure, healthier lipid (blood fat) profiles, and normal body weight.

If future research continues to indicate that higher levels of satisfaction, optimism, and happiness comes before cardiovascular health, this has strong implications for the design of prevention and intervention strategies. “These findings suggest that an emphasis on bolstering psychological strength rather than simply mitigating psychological deficits may improve cardiovascular health,” Kubzansky said.

These findings could affect your institution’s whole approach to heart health for women as well as men. Everyone around you should know about them – and begin preparing new responses, treatments, and programs for prevention. If you’re having difficulty with management supporting your community programs for women — and all of the benefits of uplifting them with your positively focused programs — point them in the direction of the study published online April 17, 2012 in Psychological Bulletin.

When you’re ready to plan your event, I can recommend one or more fabulous motivational speakers for you who will send your audience members home in a positive frame of mind about themselves and about your organization as well.  If you’d like to see some of our experts, go to our website, and select “Heart Health Events” in the Speaker Directory.  The good news is that you’re going to find a gold mine of choices there.  The not-so-good-news is that so many choices could be overwhelming. That’s where I come in.  Just give me your criteria and budget, and I will help you narrow the field – no charge. And you will get wonderful results. Just give me a call at 503-699-5031 or email me at <barbara@speakwellbeing.com>.

Backyard Summer Entertainment – Thank You, Mother Nature

I opened the sliding glass door to the deck early this summer to see mounds of moss and twigs scattered across the deck right outside the door. Automatically, I looked up. Much to my surprise, across the entire width of the slider, the ledge — all 10 feet of it — was decorated, as for Christmas, in moss, greenery and twigs. Only the mound toward the middle gave a clue – a bird’s nest. It turned out to be a robin’s nest. Then, much to our disappointment, they seemed to abandon it. Possibly they were scoping the neighborhood for a quieter location, as we are in and out of that door barbecueing, gardening, etc. But then flights back and forth to the nest resumed — including a fresh mound of nesting material. Then about three weeks ago Mom and Dad started showing up with worms, and it’s just been a blast watching the little ones’ heads pop up to chow down.  All this, despite noisy power machines to make some deck repairs and humans constantly going in and out to barbecue, garden, and water our plants. Those worms and slugs must be superfood because those babies are already about to take flight some three weeks after they hatched.

They grow fast. I took this picture with my iPhone today and by the time you read this, they may be gone. I’m going to miss all of the commotion every time mommy or daddy arrive with breakfast, lunch or dinner. I guess I’ll just have to be satisfied with waking up to the sounds of them singing in the trees.

Until next time, take care of yourself. I hope you’re staying comfortable and enjoying some summer fun whether it’s in your own backyard, a park, or an air conditioned refuge — for your well being and those you love.

Yours truly,

Barbara

For Your Well Being is published bi-weekly. We bring you insider speaker reports, exclusive stories about special events around the country, meeting planner tips, and fun stuff from the worlds of health and well being. Be well and be in the know!

The Speak Well Being Group is a specialized speakers bureau, focusing on speakers for hospital-sponsored community events, healthcare organizations, conferences and women’s groups. Our speakers are hand-selected. They are not only experts in their fields, they know how to connect with women and give them life-changing information served on a silver platter of joy, camaraderie, with a side of sauce (spicy, of course).

Finding the perfect keynote speaker for your special event or conference is my personal passion, not just once, but year after year. It brings me endless joy to know that your audience was delighted and moved by the speaker we selected together. I’m committed to making the process easy, pleasant and fun.

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