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The Effect of Positive Emotions on Our Health

Posted on February 15, 2015 at 5:35 AM


“The best way to overcome undesirable or negative thoughts and feelings is to cultivate the positive ones.” ~ William Atkinson Its important we recognise our thoughts and emotions and be aware of its effect not only on our health but also our relationships and our surroundings. Positive emotions makes you feel happy and joyful. Everything around you seems beautiful, you enjoy the moment and things seem to fall into place. Barbara Fredrickson, one of the long-time researchers and author on positive emotions, has shown how cultivating positivity can transform us at a cellular level and actually shape who we are. Fredrickson’s theory of positive emotions, ‘Broaden-and-build’ suggests that positive emotions lead to novel, expansive behavior, and these actions, over time, lead to lasting emotional resilience, flourishing and meaningful social relationships. Positive emotions or behaviour – like playfulness, gratitude, awe, love, interest, serenity, and feeling of interconnectedness to others – broadens our perspective, opens our mind and heart as we feel completely in tune with our environment. Like the flowers that open up when the sun rises, the same way positive emotions bring light and joy back in our lives. According to Fredrickson, “Negative emotions are necessary for us to flourish, and positive emotions are by nature subtle and fleeting; the secret is not to deny their transience but to find ways to increase their quantity. Rather than trying to eliminate negativity, she recommends we balance negative feelings with positive ones.” In this video she discusses how it broadens our awareness of the world, allowing us to become more in tune with the needs of others.

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Shakespeare said, “Frame your mind to mirth and merriment, which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life.” Lets see the physical and emotional benefits of positive emotions - Faster recovery from cardiovascular stress Positive emotions have also been shown to benefit individuals with cardiovascular disease.

Lower blood pressure and risk for cardiovascular disease Better sleep, fewer colds, headaches, aches and pain, and a greater sense of overall happiness Expands our perception of what lies in our peripheral vision Research suggests that even more abstract positive emotions like hope and curiosity offer protective benefits from diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes. Studies show that positive emotions help a person to overcome negative emotions faster and be more resilient and be able to cope with a difficult situation. People are more playful when happy, so that leads better physical fitness, regular exercise or increased flexibility. (so its important to engage in an activity that makes you happy) People who experience warmer, more upbeat emotions may have better physical health because they make more social connections When you delve in that happy space, more possibilities and new ideas emerge and our creativity flows. Happiness and joy transform us, although you might not stay in that state all the time.

There will days when you feel down and out, but if we observe our emotions and divert our mind and think of the happy moments, you will find the negative emotion fading away. Don’t forget negative, repressed emotions can have detrimental effect on our body, mind and spirit. It takes control over you and makes you feel down, gloomy, unhealthy and its a unpleasant state to be in. Nothing like a good humour to drive the negativity away, always works for me.

So increase your daily diet of positivity or engage in activities that bring about happy feelings either meditation, exercise, yoga, laughter clubs, walk, painting, and so on. Love your life and yourself. Positive feelings also help us live in the present moment and believe in oneness and interconnectedness with everything around us. To sum it up, Marcus Aurelius said “Remember this, that very little is needed to make a happy life.”

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