Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports

, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp 511–519 | Cite as

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

  • Julia K. Boehm
  • Loryana L. Vie
  • Laura D. Kubzansky
Tobacco Use and Lifestyle (HA Tindle, Section Editor)


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.


Cardiovascular disease Positive psychological well-being Optimism Gratitude Positive emotions Health behaviors Physical activity Exercise Diet Food consumption Cigarette smoking Behavior change Intervention 



Support for this research was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio through the grant “Exploring Concepts of Positive Health.”


No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Society, Human Development, and HealthHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of California, RiversideRiversideUSA

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