Navigation Links
Social connections drive the 'upward spiral' of positive emotions and health
Date:5/9/2013

People who experience warmer, more upbeat emotions may have better physical health because they make more social connections, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

The research, led by Barbara Fredrickson of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Bethany Kok of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences also found it is possible for a person to self-generate positive emotions in ways that make him or her physically healthier.

"People tend to liken their emotions to the weather, viewing them as uncontrollable," says Fredrickson. "This research shows not only that our emotions are controllable, but also that we can take the reins of our daily emotions and steer ourselves toward better physical health."

To study the bodily effects of up-regulating positive emotions, the researchers zeroed in on vagal tone, an indicator of how a person's vagus nerve is functioning. The vagus nerve helps regulate heart rate and is also a central component of a person's social-engagement system.

Because people who have higher vagal tone tend to be better at regulating their emotions, the researchers speculated that having higher vagal tone might lead people to experience more positive emotions, which would then boost perceived positive social connections. Having more social connections would in turn increase vagal tone, thereby improving physical health and creating an "upward spiral."

To see whether people might be able to harness this upward spiral to steer themselves toward better health, Kok, Fredrickson, and their colleagues conducted a longitudinal field experiment.

Half of the study participants were randomly assigned to attend a 6-week loving-kindness meditation (LKM) course in which they learned how to cultivate positive feelings of love, compassion, and goodwill toward themselves and others. They were asked to practice meditation at home, but how often they meditated was up to them. The other half of the participants remained on a waiting list for the course.

Each day, for 61 consecutive days, participants in both groups reported their "meditation, prayer, or solo spiritual activity," their emotional experiences, and their social interactions within the last day. Their vagal tone was assessed twice, once at the beginning and once at the end of the study.

The data provided clear evidence to support the hypothesized upward spiral, with perceived social connections serving as the link between positive emotions and health.

Participants in the LKM group who entered the study with higher vagal tone showed steeper increases in positive emotions over the course of the study. As participants' positive emotions increased, so did their reported social connections. And, as social connections increased, so did vagal tone. In contrast, participants in the wait-list group showed virtually no change in vagal tone over the course of the study.

"The daily moments of connection that people feel with others emerge as the tiny engines that drive the upward spiral between positivity and health," Fredrickson explains.

These findings add another piece to the physical health puzzle, suggesting that positive emotions may be an essential psychological nutrient that builds health, just like getting enough exercise and eating leafy greens.

"Given that costly chronic diseases limit people's lives and overburden healthcare systems worldwide, this is a message that applies to nearly everyone, citizens, educators, health care providers, and policy-makers alike," Fredrickson observes.


'/>"/>

Contact: Anna Mikulak
amikulak@psychologicalscience.org
202-293-9300
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Positive social support at work shown to reduce risk of diabetes
2. Many plastic surgeons view social media as important tool for promoting their practice
3. New Video from the International Essential Tremor Foundation Addresses the Emotional and Psychosocial Aspects of Essential Tremor
4. Facebook – Plastic Surgeons Get a Lift from Social Media
5. Half of US plastic surgeons market their practice via social media
6. Contract Research Organization, WCCT Global, Announces the Importance of Building a Social Trust for Clinical Trial Recruitment
7. VIP Speakers Announced for Mom+Social Global Summit at 92YTribeca in New York on May 8, 2013
8. Patient centered medical home helps assess social health determinants and promote health
9. Social media can support healthiness of older people
10. Social360 Appoints Frank De Maria as CEO, Americas
11. Doctors Urged to Refrain from Social Media Contacts With Patients
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/20/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 20, 2017 , ... “The Angel”: ... the Lord has set out for each of his children. “The Angel” is the ... School of Music in New York City, and impassioned writer. , When asked of ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... , ... January 20, 2017 , ... “Journey to Christmas:” a beautiful and enchanting tale ... published author, Kimberly Cordoves, a mother of three in Oklahoma City, and a devoted woman ... of writing a book has been in the back of my mind for years, but ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... 19, 2017 , ... Aerolib Healthcare Solutions ... Clinical and Regulatory education for Physicians, Physician Advisors, Case managers, Utilization Review ... of Disease Specific Documentation Improvement. , The Aerolib Learning Management System is ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... , ... January 19, 2017 , ... ... tech innovators, engineers, and scientists from around the world, announces the launch of ... a quick and easy portal to research breakthroughs and trending news, vital information ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 19, 2017 , ... ... development solutions for drugs, biologics and consumer health products, today announced that it ... Gattefossé, the leader in innovative excipients and drug delivery solutions to health industries ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/20/2017)... January 20, 2017 ... an Nothilfe   Die internationale humanitäre Stadt soll ... zu schaffen   Seine Hoheit Scheich ... VAE sowie Herrscher von Dubai , ... der Hilfe (International Humanitarian City IHC) zu verdreifachen, um ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... Jan. 19, 2017 Germany ... GlobalData,s new report, "Germany Cataract Surgery Devices Market ... Germany Cataract Surgery Devices market. The report provides value, ... average prices (USD) within market segements - Phacoemulsification Equipment ... provides company shares and distribution shares data for each ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... 2017 Report Details What can ... are going to grow at the fastest rates? This ... data, trends, opportunities and prospects. Our 190-page report ... lucrative areas in the industry and the future market ... across the all the major categories of the ophthalmic ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: