SOURCE: Keep An Open Heart LLC

November 20, 2009 08:00 ET

Survey Finds Despite Hard Times, Majority of Americans Are Living With an Open Heart

Consumers Encouraged to Share Their Stories of Inspiration at

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - November 20, 2009) - Despite the ups and downs of today's economy, nearly nine out of 10 Americans say they are living with an Open Heart -- the philosophy of keeping your heart open, despite adversity, thereby resulting in something positive. According to a nationwide survey commissioned by Kay Jewelers, the issues most frequently mentioned as requiring an Open Heart for guidance and solutions are unemployment (52 percent), followed by religious differences (48 percent), financial difficulties (48 percent) and the economy (45 percent).

"Americans are resilient," actress Jane Seymour said. "Even in times of difficulty, people find a way to overcome adversity by keeping an Open Heart."

Bad experiences, fear and prejudice were expressed as the barriers to having an Open Heart by those participating in the survey. Volunteers were cited by 66 percent of those polled as the ones most likely to have an Open Heart. In a tie, Mother Teresa and Princess Diana were each designated as having the most inspiring Open Hearts, followed by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.

Illustrating the importance of family, the survey showed that more than half (55 percent) polled said they learned about having an Open Heart from their parents and grandparents. When asked who was most in need of an Open Heart, the most frequently mentioned response was politicians (67 percent), followed by criminals (51 percent) and health insurance companies (49 percent). Nearly half of respondents said that everyone in America was in need of an Open Heart.

The survey was conducted to explore attitudes around Seymour's Open Hearts philosophy that keeping an Open Heart despite adversity can bring a wealth of love, hope and inspiration into life. The survey is part of a campaign to launch, an online community where visitors can share stories and engage in a dialogue about living life with an Open Heart.

"Sharing inspirational stories about overcoming difficulties in one's life and then moving forward to do something positive can have a great impact on others," said Seymour. "And that's the premise behind"

After a difficult period in her life, Seymour began painting and noticed that the hearts she painted were always open. This led Seymour to create an Open Heart symbol that mirrors her mother's advice that only when you can love yourself and keep your heart open can you best give and receive love.

Most Americans believe in a similar philosophy, and according to the survey, nearly nine out of 10 agree that having an Open Heart requires accepting yourself as you are, flaws and all. There is also wide agreement (82 percent) that you cannot receive love if you are not willing to give it, and that keeping an Open Heart is its own reward (80 percent).

When it comes to movies that Americans think best capture the spirit of an Open Heart, "It's a Wonderful Life" was chosen most, followed by "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

Other survey findings:

--  72 percent of respondents said that a willingness to help a stranger
    in need is a characteristic strongly associated with an Open Heart,
    followed by having a positive attitude despite difficulties (70 percent)
--  55 percent of respondents say American hearts are becoming closed over
    time, 28 percent believe hearts are about the same and 17 percent
    optimistically see hearts becoming increasingly open
--  Respondents say Michael J. Fox and Oprah Winfrey are the most
    inspiring celebrities with Open Hearts
--  Respondents say TV Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) from
    "Law & Order SVU" and America's sweetheart Betty Suarez (America Ferrera)
    of "Ugly Betty" are good examples of characters having an Open Heart
--  Respondents say TV characters Dr. Greg House (Hugh Laurie) from
    "House," bachelor Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen) from "Two and a Half Men"
    and fashion editor Wilhelmina Slater (Vanessa Williams) from "Ugly Betty"
    are most in need of an Open Heart

To help promote the Open Hearts philosophy, Keep An Open Heart LLC is sponsoring a sweepstakes where consumers can enter by articulating how living with an Open Heart allowed them to overcome adversity and create something positive, such as helping others or giving hope and love. The first 100 entrants to submit an eligible entry will receive a sterling silver Open Hearts necklace from Kay Jewelers. One grand prize winner from all eligible entries received through Dec. 31, 2009 will receive a 14 karat white gold Open Hearts by Jane Seymour™ diamond necklace valued at nearly $1,300. There is no purchase necessary for the sweepstakes and full sweepstakes rules are available at

Consumers can further engage with the Open Hearts philosophy by browsing the stories on, subscribing to HTML e-mail newsletters, sending e-cards to family and friends, and signing up to receive text messages on their mobile phone. Seymour will also communicate with the Open Hearts community through a Facebook page and YouTube channel.

About the survey

Opinion Research Corporation conducted the poll to obtain information on Americans' awareness, attitudes, and experiences with the Open Hearts philosophy. A 10-minute survey was conducted among a total of 2,000 Americans, matching the sample to the U.S. Census on the basis of gender, age, and region. This sample size has an associated +/- 2.2 percent margin of error. The research was conducted online from Sept. 9 to Sept. 18, 2009.

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