Essay Preview: Positive Health
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Positive Health “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity” (Compton, 2013). A major aspect that has been explored in positive psychology is positive health. Initially, physical health was the main focus in regards to positive health and how it is conducive to a happy life. Over the years, researchers have discovered that there are many other contributing factors, along with physical health, when it comes to positive health and living “the good life” (Compton, 2013). I have chosen to take a further look at positive health and it’s contributing factors and attributes. The main reason I chose positive health as my research topic is that I already had a major interest in health and fitness prior to taking this course. Before completing lesson 6 in this course, I would have thought that the concept of “positive health” involved only physical aspects as well. After learning that was not the case, I developed a strong interest in all of the factors that can play a part in an individual’s health. In terms of positive psychology, “health” is now known to encompass physical, mental, and emotional wellness (Compton, 2013). A topic of positive health that I found to be very interesting was that negative emotions are linked to lowered immunity and positive emotions are linked to higher immunity. Research has shown that the brain creates more antibodies to fight off disease when an individual develops a pattern of experiencing positive emotions. The contrary is also true. The brain has much lower antibody levels in individuals who develop a pattern of negative thinking and emotions (Bhattacharya, 2007). To me, this goes to show the importance of optimism and positive thinking in our everyday lives. Instead of dwelling on things that go wrong or bad memories, it is important to focus on favorable memories and positive aspects of life. Since discovering this information, I have vouched to make some changes in my own life to contribute to my own positive health. I have often lived my life with many regrets; worrying about things I could have done differently. I now realize that doing so cannot change anything and will actually contribute negatively to my overall health. In the future, I will try to focus on 5 positive things or memories each day and go back to those positive thoughts any time I start to feel negativity arise. I hope that this will, in turn, boost my immunity and overall health.
Another topic that I researched further in regards to positive health was humor. I have always considered myself to have a great sense of humor and I thoroughly enjoy telling/hearing jokes and laughing with family and friends. What I did not know is that humor could actually be associated with positive health. Humor benefits all three categories of health: physical, mental, and social health (Smith, 2016). In terms of physical health benefits, I found that humor and laughter relieves tension and stress by relaxing your muscles, boosts immunity by creating more infection-fighting antibodies, releases endorphins that make your body feel good/decreases pain, as well as prevents heart disease by improving the function of blood vessels (Smith, 2016). Humor and laughter positively benefits your mental health by relieving anxiety and distressing emotions, reduces stress so you are able to accomplish more, and can even change your perspective on situations. Humor allows you to see things in a more positive and optimistic way, allowing individuals to approach fearful and challenging circumstances. Lastly, humor has many social benefits. Humor allows people to create an emotional bond, defuses conflicts, strengthens existing relationships, and attracts others (Smith, 2016). All of these health benefits make humor and laughter even more of a priority in my life. Although I already used humor and laughter quite frequently in my everyday life, I now have a desire to continue doing so and to try to use it even more, especially in challenging times. I also plan on sharing my findings about humor and laughter with other people. It is my belief that the more people understand how much laughing and having a sense of humor can actually positively affect our health, the more people will choose to use it in their everyday lives as well. There is no such thing as too much laughter. Who wouldn’t want to smile more and have better health?