Emotions The protective effect of positive emotions

The protective effect of positive emotions


Walking with a smile, showing gratitude or remembering every night the pleasant moments of the day is good for our health. The protective effect of positive emotions is supported by scientific research. We have to eat well, rest … but, above all, strive to be happy.

The interaction of the body with the mind has always been emphasized, both in the West (the Men’s sana in corpore sana by the Latin poet Juvenal) and in the East. Until recently, this approach had not at all convinced the medical community, which claimed that they were based on more or less ancient traditions rather than scientific evidence.

However, a wave of recent scientific research encourages us to pay attention to the role that emotions have in our health, agreeing with the philosopher Voltaire, who wrote: “I have decided to be happy because it is good for health.” Hence the emergence of so-called alternative or complementary medicines, which are devoted to curing the whole of the body and not just an isolated part.


The advances of modern medicine gradually diluted the link between the body and the mind, inducing health professionals to focus on an “organ medicine” and to approach the body as a collection of separate entities. Hence the appearance of specialties (nephrology, pulmonology, psychiatry) and even subspecialties: in cardiology services, there are no longer generalist cardiologists, but specialists in coronary diseases, arrhythmias, hypertension.

This growing specialization has allowed great progress, particularly in the care of disorders in their acute phase, but it also perplexed many patients (and their doctors) in the case of chronic pathologies, since these involve, in general, multiple organs and, above all, to the brain. For this reason, science never abandoned the study of the interaction between emotions and health.

As is often the case in medicine, the interest was first directed towards the disease and the dysfunctions of the body-mind link. In the 1950s, with his work on stress, Hans Selye was the first to rethink the endocrine mechanisms by which our mechanism reacts to the pressures and demands of the environment. From there, a large number of investigations were made on the impact that problematic psychological states such as stress, anxiety or depression produce on our body.

The first to demonstrate this in patients were cardiologists, who in the sixties discovered that hostile emotions (resentment, irritation, anger, bad mood) cause damage to the coronary arteries and, therefore, a higher risk of heart attack. myocardium. Later, work was carried out on the protective and favorable role for health of positive emotions. The benefits of good social relations, a smile, a good mood, relaxation or meditation were demonstrated in an incontestable way. And prudent: the current conviction is that positive emotions are not capable (or they are not yet) to cure by themselves an already implanted pathology. Instead, they represent a protective factor that helps maintain good health for those who enjoy it.


At present, the position of the scientific community on the body-mind links is more measured and, at the same time, more complete. More measured because it is no longer considered that stress can “manufacture” disease by itself. On the other hand, it is, without a doubt, a proven risk factor, as are genetics, diet or sedentary lifestyle; in fact, it is the great aggravator of all pathologies. And more complete because it is no longer content with thinking that we must limit stress, but, for the sake of our health, invites us to cultivate physical and emotional well-being, as recommended by Voltaire.

We are, therefore, at the dawn of a new form of medicine that takes into account the whole human being, and not only his organs. But this means changes for everyone, not just for doctors. It is a model that involves a strong involvement of patients: we will be increasingly required to get involved in our health. Eating well, moving around, not dwelling on negative ideas and striving to be happy: these are the new demands for people who want to be healthy for as long as possible.

Hence the concern of some who consider that we are gradually approaching a form of welfare dictatorship. The truth is that any progress in our knowledge also brings an additional part of responsibility. If, when it comes to the environment, we can no longer ignore that some of our behaviors damage the planet, the same happens with our own well-being: we know that our state of mind weighs on our health. One more reason to calmly strive to be happy, at least a few moments every day!

MindFixes Staffhttp://mindfixes.com
MindFixes is dedicated to promoting mental health, preventing mental disorders and advocating, educating, and serving all people with mental and substance use conditions. MindFixes is determined to persevere, learn, grow, love and laugh through our wellness journey and we invite all to join.


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