Your feelings have a huge impact on your physical health. More specifically, the frequency with which you feel positive emotions, such as joy, laughter and relaxation, are critical for your ongoing physical health. AND the frequency with which you regularly experience negative emotions, such as fear, stress, anger and contempt, seem to work against your physical health.
A recent study from the Kansas University has added more evidence to this relatively new line of thought relating positive emotions with physical health. The latest experiment provides direct evidence of the deep-seated need for positive emotions around the globe
Sarah Pressman, assistant professor of psychology at Kansas stated, 'We've known for a while now that emotions play a critical role in physical health, but until recently, most of this research was conducted only in industrialized countries. So we couldn't know whether feelings like happiness or sadness matter to the health of people who have more pressing concerns - like getting enough to eat or finding shelter. But now we do.' The findings indicate the tremendous importance of positive emotions in the physical health of all individuals, particularly those in impoverished parts of the world.
Gathering a massive sample that consisted of more than 150,000 adults from more than 140 countries, the study represents more than ninety-five percent of the world's population. Participants reported their recent emotions including happiness, worry, anger, anxiety, fear and sadness. They also reported their physical status, including health problems such as physical pain, fatigue and recent sicknesses. In addition, they described the extent to which their basic needs were currently met (e.g., clothing, housing, food).
Results found that the frequency of positive emotions experienced are 'unmistakably linked to better health,' even when basic needs were accounted for.
Notably, the opposite was found to be true as well: Destructive feelings, such as irritation, anxiety and sadness, were reliable predictors of decreased physical health.
Amazingly, the relationship between emotion and physical health was stronger than that between health and basic human needs, like food and clothing. Even for those individuals starving or freezing from a harsh environment due to lack of shelter, the presence of positive emotions increased health. In fact, the relationship was the strongest in the poorest countries involved in the study.
This essential human need for positive emotions and the importance of positive emotions for physical health is quickly getting established as medical certainty.
For a free copy of John's award-winning book, 'Guide to Self: The Beginner's Guide to Managing Emotion' visit http://www.GuideToSelf.com and register with your name and email.
MLA University of Kansas (2009, March 5). Human Emotions Hold Sway Over Physical Health Worldwide.
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Dr. John Schinnerer holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology from U.C. Berkeley. Dr. Schinnerer has been an executive, speaker and psychologist for over 12 years. Dr. John Schinnerer is Founder of Guide To Self, a company that coaches executives to well-being and success. Dr. John Schinnerer hosted over 200 episodes of Guide To Self Radio, a daily prime time radio show, in the SF Bay Area. Dr. Schinnerer wrote the award-winning, "Guide To Self: The Beginner's Guide To Managing Emotion and Thought," which is available at Amazon.com. His blog, Shrunken Mind, was recently recognized as #1 in positive psychology on the web by PostRank (drjohnblog.guidetoself.com) and as one of the Top 100 blogs on the web by The Daily Reviewer. Dr. Schinnerer's areas of expertise range from positive psychology, to emotional awareness, to anger management, to executive coaching. His offices are in Danville, California.
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