How do positive moods improve health?

Ronald Siegel
Positive emotions help undo the physical stress of negative feelings. Chronic anger, worry, and hostility have been linked to a higher risk of developing heart disease, as people react to these feelings with raised blood pressure and stiffening of blood vessels. Experiments by Barbara L. Fredrickson of the University of Michigan have documented that positive emotions can reverse health-damaging cardiovascular reactions—increased heart rate and blood pressure—induced by negative emotions such as anxiety, anger, and fear.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

We all have friends or family who fit the polar ends of personality - the cheerleader types who can smile even after getting puddle-pummeled by a bus and the negative types who frown at butterflies. Positive emotions play a crucial role in developing the enduring relationships that are critical for our happiness. (One example: The boomerang smile - that is, a shared smile between mother and baby.)
We know negative emotions change our brain function to increase stress, which increases the risk of things like cancer and heart disease. Since we also know positive emotions change the way brain functions to reduce stress, they can help cancel out those health risks. The best evidence comes from studies on meditation and relaxation therapies, which show their ability to calm a jumpy heart down. Other studies have found a strong correlation between positive moods and the improvement of physical symptoms such as listlessness and weakened immune function. All are clearly contributors to happiness (or lack thereof).

YOU: Being Beautiful: The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty

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YOU: Being Beautiful: The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty

Most people think that beauty revolves around such things as lipstick, sweet eyes, or skinny jeans -- all those things that we can see (and obsess over) in the mirror. But the fact is that beauty...

Continue Learning about Emotional Health

Emotional Health

How well you handle stress, anger, relationships, work, family life-it all factors into your emotional health. Finding balance in life-as well as peace of mind-helps us cope with life's ups and downs. Take time to explore new ways ...

to find stress relief, and to release anxiety, and unhappiness. Counseling can help-as can a gratitude journal.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.