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The impact of well-being on health outcomes

Researchers in California have carried out a meta-analysis to examine the effects of well-being (e.g. positive emotion, happiness, life satisfaction, optimism) on health outcomes (e.g. objective physical outcomes such as stress levels and longevity).

The study analysed 150 articles to investigate the impact of well-being on short term health outcomes (e.g. cardiovascular reactivity, pain tolerance and physiological responses) and long term health outcomes (e.g. disease progression, longevity, survival and respiratory functioning) as well as investigating the buffering relationship of well-being in relation to disease. They found that well-being is positively related to both short term and long term health outcomes and disease or symptom control. Not only does health impact well-being but well-being impacts upon health. 

The findings show that well-being can directly bolster immune functioning and buffer the impact of stress. They found that the impact of well-being on improving health was stronger for immune system response and pain tolerance, whereas well-being was not significantly related to increases in cardiovascular and physiological reactivity.  The results from this study are informative for potential medical and psychological interventions.  The findings suggest that a prime area for health promotion involves boosting happiness and increasing the frequency of positive emotions. ?Indeed health may be only one of the many life domains- albeit a critical one - that is impacted when people actively enhance their own well-being.'  To read the abstract from this journal or to buy the article click here

 
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