Can Positive Emotions Keep You Well?

There’s no doubt that negative emotions can create and sustain illness. It’s been known intuitively and written about for thousands of years and increasingly recognised medically and scientifically over the last century. For example, Dr Sigmund Freud wrote: ‘Often repressed emotions will manifest either as behavioural problems or physical problems’. Although widely derided at the time and since, the evidence is now overwhelming.

Cellular biologist Bruce Lipton[1] and others have shown that every cell in the body has intelligence and responds to our ‘instructions’ (thoughts, mental images, attitudes and beliefs). As cells reproduce, they respond to the patterns we give them. This way, over time every emotion is locked into our physical makeup. New cells reflect the predominant emotions currently experiences, thus negative emotions – especially anger and fear – can create illness.

Can positive emotions keep you well?

The question arises, if ‘negative’ thoughts and emotions can make you ill, can ‘positive’ thoughts and emotions make – and keep – you well? Can positive emotions improve your chances of good mental and physical health? The answer is a qualified ‘yes’.

Dr Norman Cousins became an internationally known speaker and author after restoring himself to health using ‘laughter therapy’ – watching funny movies to help him maintain a sunny disposition. Others (but not everyone) who tried it had similar results.

Research by the Institute of Noetic Sciences shows that taking personal responsibility, learning to express our emotions constructively and reappraising old beliefs that are unhelpful or inappropriate certainly helps. Seeking spiritual awareness through a practice such as prayer, mindfulness or meditation also help.

Happy, enthusiastic, optimistic, go-ahead people do have more energy and get ill less often. In addition, many studies have concluded that people who are well adjusted emotionally and socially are healthier and live longer.

For example:

  • A research team at the University of Michigan studied 2,700 people for fourteen years, and found that regular social contact significantly increased life expectancy, particularly among men. The death rate among people who did not have close relationships was 250% higher during the study period.
  • A random sample of 7,000 adults in California revealed that adults with strong family bonds, good social relationships and a happy, outgoing attitude had half the mortality rate of those without such ties, irrespective of their smoking, drinking, exercise and eating habits.
  • In another experiment, records were kept of a hundred factory workers in the UK. Those reporting a supportive home, work and social life stayed healthier than who were dissatisfied with their domestic and working lives. The incidence of arthritis in the least contented group was ten times higher than in the most contented.

How, then, can we use these insights to heal out bodies and stay healed? By cultivating:

  • Self-awareness.
  • Positive intentions.
  • Positive thoughts and beliefs.
  • Health imagination.
  • Constructive actions.

This is the I-T-I-A Formula©. These four letters hold the key to health, happiness and prosperity, provided they are consistently applied. I’ve written widely on them elsewhere. Take a look!

[1] Bruce Lipton, The Biology of Belief, Hay House, 2008, ISBN 978-1401923112


©David L Preston, 24.3.2017

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