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Positive Emotions: (Part 6 of 8)

The Health Benefits of Positive Emotions

Among the many health benefits of positive emotions is a reduction in stress and a boost to general well-being. Positive emotions can actually act as a buffer between you and stressful events in your life, allowing you to cope more effectively and preserve your mental health (Tugade, Fredrickson, & Barrett, 2004). In addition, in 2006 researchers confirmed that experiencing positive emotions helps you modulate your reaction to stress and allows you to recover from the negative effects of stress more quickly (Ong, Bergeman, Bisconti, & Wallace).

Positive emotions may also protect you from the sniffles! Students who were randomly assigned to writing about intense, positive experiences for three days, 20 minutes a day, made significantly fewer visits to the student health center for symptoms of illness, compared to students who wrote about a neutral topic (Burton & King, 2004).

Experiencing positive emotions may also encourage individuals to make healthier decisions, indirectly contributing to better health. Herzenstein (2008) found that several positive emotions lead to a variety of health benefits, including:

  • Happiness resulted in increased risk- and variety-seeking and gain-focused behavior
  • Contentment resulted in increased risk avoidance and loss-focused behavior.

Positive emotions can also facilitate more effective coping, which boosts health by providing a buffer against symptoms of depression (Dolphin, Steinhardt, & Cance, 2015). In addition, being mindful and taking the time to savor positive emotions can provide an extra buffer against symptoms of depression while boosting psychological well-being and life satisfaction (Kiken, Lundberg, & Fredrickson, 2017).

Another health benefit of positive emotions is that they may result in a stronger heart; Kok and colleagues (2013) found a connection between a healthy heart rate and the experience of positive social emotions. Similarly, a meta-analysis of several studies found that well-being was significantly related to good cardiovascular functioning, general health, and longevity overall (Howell, Kern, & Lyubomirsky, 2007).

Part 7 to be continued

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Margaret

Margaret Hirsch
Margaret Hirsch
Hirsch COO runs South Africa’s top independence appliance company that specialises in all appliances, electronics, furniture and bedding. They give the best deals and the best prices and everything is guaranteed.