How Do Emotions & Attitudes Impact Health?
Emotions that are freely experienced and expressed without judgment or attachment tend to flow fluidly. On the other hand, emotions that are repressed or expressed in unhealthy ways tend to create obstructions in the body, sapping energy and hope.
Therefore, it's important for people to recognize and identify emotions, and to be aware of their impact-not only on their thoughts, but also on their bodies and behavior. As emotional awareness increases, people find it easier to choose a response.
What happens to the human immune system when people have negative attitudes?
Chronic stress from negative attitudes and feelings of helplessness upsets the body's hormone balance and depletes the brain chemicals required for feelings of happiness. New scientific understandings have identified the pathways through which human emotions, such as hope and fear, impact the body's immune systems and overall vitality.
Are people better off when they have positive psychological states?
Researchers at the University of Louisville (Kentucky) interviewed 1,277 adults 55 or older. Positive states of gratitude or joy appeared to increase vitality and protect against negative health symptoms. This study suggests that having positive self-esteem helps temper the negative effects of unhappy emotions on a person's health.
What happens when people learn to forgive?
The attitude of forgiveness can be learned and can lead people to experience better mental, emotional and physical health. The Stanford Forgiveness Project trained 260 adults in forgiveness in a 6-week course.
- 70% reported a decrease in their feelings of hurt
- 13% experienced reduced anger
- 27% experienced fewer physical complaints (for example, pain, gastrointestinal upset, dizziness, etc.)
Is there any relationship between hopelessness and mortality?
In a large Finnish study, people who were hopeless were twice as likely to die sooner.
When people are in tough emotional situations, what can help?
The HealthEmotions Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin is conducting a study on the effect of holding a significant other's hand when exposed to stimuli that provoke negative emotions. Preliminary results show profound positive differences in certain biological measures with hand-holding, and the better the relationship, the greater the change. This study affirms the age-old wisdom that being in the presence of a significant other often helps people cope with adverse events.