Keeping Positive Is Good For Your Long Term Health
If you stay calm and maintain a positive, cheerful mood in face of the minor stresses of everyday life, you reduce the risk of cancer, obesity and heart disease, according to new research by Pennsylvania State University in the US.
Researchers discovered that those people who were unable to stay in a positive state of mind while dealing with “minor stressors” had elevated levels of inflammation.
Your body’s immune system uses inflammation in order to protect itself from attack, however, over the long term, higher levels of inflammation can cause health problems. The research, published in the journal Health Psychology, looked at the emotional reactions and daily stress levels of 872 people over an 8 day period. During this time, samples of blood were taken and assessed for “inflammatory markers”.
Separately from the health clinic visits where these blood samples were taken, participants were interviewed over the phone every day. They were asked to gauge their positive and negative emotions, whilst also taking into account the number of “stressors” or stressful events that occurred each day. This meant that the study could ascertain the differences between days when the participants were more stressed, and the days that they weren’t. Examples of stressful events included arguments both at home and at work, being discriminated against and also experiencing stress because of the stress their friends were feeling.
All of these factors were then measured against two markers of inflammation that were taken from their blood samples. The results were very revealing. For inflammation, it was much less important the amount of stress someone was under than how a person reacted to the stressors. Nancy Sin, from the Center for Healthy Aging and Department of Biobehavioral Health at Pennsylvania State University said:
“A person’s frequency of stress may be less related to inflammation than responses to stress. Positive emotions, and how they can help people in the event of stress, have really been overlooked.”
Increased inflammation in the long term can increase the risk for age related diseases for heart, mind and joints, so you better start thinking more positively and reacting more calmly to stress in your life!
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