The Power of Positive Emotions
Emotions are an innate part of our lives and yet we often don’t pay nearly enough attention to them. For many years now, more and more evidence has come to light which shows the direct relationship they have with our health. In fact, positive emotions can enhance our health in the same way that negative emotions can weaken it.
As numerous studies show, our central nervous system and our immune system communicate directly. This means that our emotions and our body are not separate entities; they are very much connected and interrelated.
“A lucid mind and a good heart accompanied by warm feelings are life’s most important things. If the mind doesn’t have positive and elevated thoughts, then we can never find happiness “
All the latest studies also highlight the impact that negative emotions can have. These studies warn us of the negative influence that certain emotions have on our health, and they show us how important it is to avoid negative emotions such as fear and anger. However, what is not so commonly taught is the fact that blocking these emotions can be a source of health problems too.
Emotions that look after our health
For some time now, some experts in the field of health have had a change of approach as regards our emotions, and they have started to talk more positively. Instead of focusing on negative emotions, they have turned their attention to the power of positive emotions.
Arturo Agüero, doctor and director of the National Hospital Diego Alcorta, says in his book, Emotions That Heal, that positive emotions can get rid of the negative burdens of other sensations in our body that may be threatening our health.
In the same way, the American doctor B. Fredrickson, winner of the Highest Templeton Prize in Positive Psychology, after years of scientific research, discovered the health enhancing effect of positive emotions.
“Laughter is tremendously relaxing, it’s a great meditation. Laughter is a beautiful thing, it gives you a certain lightness, it gives you wings to fly. And life is full of opportunities to laugh. You only need to have awareness”
The University of Kentucky has also conducted a lengthy investigation on the topic. The result has shown a relationship between positive emotions and longevity. And so, after decades of research, we have real evidence that shows the relationship between positive emotions and our state of health and life expectancy. In fact, it is proven that those who experience more positive emotions have lower blood pressure and a stronger immune system. Here are some of those positive emotions and feelings:
Joy and fun
Joy is perhaps one of the quickest emotions we can experience. It happens in an instant when we find ourselves in a pleasant environment. It appears in those “perfect” moments when we feel that things are exactly as they should be and we are where we should be.
Of equal importance, fun is the emotion associated with pleasure, and is found in what makes us laugh and allows us to enjoy our experiences. Fun, in this sense, is a powerful natural relaxant.
“If we focus as much on our joys as we do with our sorrows, our problems would lose importance”
This emotion must be understood in its broadest sense. Give thanks to life, to nature, to our companions in life, amongst other things. We should feel grateful for our health, for the place where we live, and so many other things.
Giving thanks is also a reason for joy. It means that someone is taking care of us and things are going well for us. Who wouldn’t be comforted by knowing this?
“Gratitude is a flower that springs from the soul”
Serenity is a more relaxed, sustained and subtle emotion than joy. We enjoy it when we are at one with ourselves and conscious of what we are experiencing. In addition, serenity is the emotion that makes it easier for us to see the whole forest and not only the tree when there is a problem, thus increasing our chances of finding a solution.
Interest is a higher emotion that inspires exploration and investigation. Thanks to interest, we have the desire and the motivation to learn and develop our knowledge, qualities and abilities.
When we fall in love, a biological reaction occurs in our bodies that increases our levels of oxytocin and progesterone. The consequence is immediate – it increases our sense of well-being and reduces our stress levels, and so improves our health and quality of life.
“Hate does not diminish with hatred. Hate decreases with love”
In conclusion, this research supports a change of focus in the way we understand emotions, feelings, and emotional states. It’s not so much a question of blocking negative emotions, but rather of enhancing positive ones, as these will neutralize the negative ones. In fact, this new point of view encourages giving equal value to all our emotions, regardless of the power they yield. Negative emotions have an unquestionable value of being able to help us to adapt to different situations. And positive emotions have a transcendent and far-reaching objective that goes far beyond the pleasant sensations that they give to us.