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"I often tell my patients not to get too depressed because it's bad for your heart," Perk said. "You need time to recharge your batteries or else your heart won't be able to take it."
Depression has long been noted as a risk factor for heart problems. Davidson said it was premature to draft guidelines recommending patients boost their happiness levels just to protect their hearts, even if it might help, until broader studies now under way are completed. But she does recommend trying to be happy for other reasons, like better mental health.
"Anything that patients can do to increase the amount of (happiness) in their lives will be helpful," she said, adding there was a slight proviso. "No smoking, eating unhealthy food, not exercising or anything potentially damaging," she said. "That's the only trick."
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