health

Carnegie Mellon researchers find links between happiness and health, but questions remain (press release)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 by: NaturalNews
Tags: health news, Natural News, nutrition

eTrust Pro Certified

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
White House admits staging fake vaccination operation to gather DNA from the public
Irrefutable proof we are all being sprayed with poison: 571 tons of toxic lead 'chemtrailed' into America's skies every year
EXCLUSIVE: Natural News tests flu vaccine for heavy metals, finds 25,000 times higher mercury level than EPA limit for water
Russia taking McDonald's to court, threatens countrywide shutdown
Truvia sweetener a powerful pesticide; scientists shocked as fruit flies die in less than a week from eating GMO-derived erythritol
Why does the CDC own a patent on Ebola 'invention?'
Senator who attacked Doctor Oz over dietary supplements received over $146,000 in campaign contributions from Big Pharma mega-retailer and Monsanto
Global warming data FAKED by government to fit climate change fictions
HOAX confirmed: Michelle Obama 'GMOs for children' campaign a parody of modern agricultural politics
Oregon man serving prison sentence for collecting rainwater on his own property
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
Ebola outbreak may already be uncontrollable; Monsanto invests in Ebola treatment drug company as pandemic spreads
Ben and Jerry's switches to non-GMO, Fair Trade ice cream ingredients
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women
Elliot Rodger, like nearly all young killers, was taking psychiatric drugs (Xanax)
Right to farm being stripped from Americans: Michigan to criminalize small family farms with chickens, goats, honey bees and more
Monsanto's seed imperialism halted in Canada thanks to massive protests
Delicious
There is growing evidence that positive emotions such as happiness are linked to good health and increased longevity, but too many questions remain unanswered to draw definitive conclusions, according to a review of research conducted over the past 10 years. The paper, authored by Sheldon Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, and Sarah Pressman, a doctoral candidate in psychology at Carnegie Mellon, was published in the December 12 issue of the Psychological Bulletin.

The strongest links between positive emotions and health were found in studies that examined "trait" emotions, which reflect a person's typical emotional experience, rather than "state" emotions, which reflect momentary responses to events. People who typically report more positive emotions experience lower rates of chronic illness, symptoms and pain. Moreover, among the elderly who live on their own or with family rather than in retirement homes, positive emotional dispositions are linked to living longer. In contrast, positive emotions are not associated with increased longevity in studies of other populations, and though possibly beneficial for recovery from less serious diseases, extremely positive emotions are in some cases associated with poorer outcomes among those with serious illness.

"Overall, the literature suggests an association between positive emotions and some measures of good health, but there are many subtle weaknesses in these studies and it would be inappropriate to make any strong conclusions," Cohen said.

One problem in interpreting the literature is that in many cases, it is difficult to distinguish between the effects of positive and negative emotions. For example, do elderly living on their own or with family live longer because they are happy or because they are not sad? Interestingly, people's experiences of positive and negative emotions are partly independent in some circumstances. For instance, in looking back over the last month or year, one can reasonably report having been both happy and sad. A definitive answer to whether positive or negative emotions are contributing to a health outcome can only come from studies that measure both types of emotions and examine their independent effects. Consequently, it is difficult to conclude from the existing literature whether happiness leads to a healthier and longer life or unhappiness results in a less healthy, shorter one.

The authors also were concerned with the possibility that some measures of positive emotions may themselves be direct indicators of physical health. For example, adjectives such as "energetic," "full-of-pep," and "vigorous" may reflect a positive mood, but may also reflect how healthy one feels. Self-rated health has been found to predict illness and longevity above and beyond objective health measures such as physician ratings. Consequently, it is important for future research to include standard measures of self-rated health to help exclude the possibility that researchers are merely predicting good objective health from good perceived health masquerading as positive emotions.

Cohen and Pressman suggest that future research focus on determining how emotions "get under the skin" to influence health. In other words, what behavioral or physiological changes do positive emotions trigger to ward off illness? The authors propose that emotions can have a direct impact on health; for example, they may influence lifestyle choices, or the function of the immune and autonomic nervous systems. Alternatively, they suggest that positive emotions may also influence health by mitigating the harmful effects of stress.

"Overall, we consider this literature provocative but not definitive. It does not unequivocally indicate that positive emotions are beneficial for health, but instead suggests a more divergent view of when positive emotions may have positive, negative or no effects," Cohen said.

Contact: Jonathan Potts jpotts@andrew.cmu.edu 412-268-6094 Carnegie Mellon University

Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.