, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp 511-519
Date: 27 Sep 2012

The Promise of Well-Being Interventions for Improving Health Risk Behaviors

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Abstract

Accumulating evidence suggests that positive psychological well-being (e.g., optimism, life satisfaction) is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. One possible explanation for this association is that individuals with greater positive psychological well-being tend to engage in health behaviors that are relevant to the prevention of cardiovascular disease (e.g., exercising, eating a healthy diet, avoiding smoking). If positive psychological well-being actually precedes and induces healthy behaviors such that it is a true causal factor, then well-being may be a useful target for intervention. In this article, we briefly review evidence linking well-being with health behaviors. We also describe possible strategies to enhance well-being (e.g., expressing gratitude, mindfulness meditation) and evaluate how effective such strategies may be for fostering behavior change.