By JEANINE JOY
October 29, 2017
“Authenticity is an important contributor to good health. Jobs that require emotional labor, such as putting on a positive front even when it is not authentic, lead to worse health outcomes for employees.”
Some people are in-authentically, outwardly positive. It isn’t good for them. I do not believe that this group is large in comparison to other groups which are positively focused and use skills to authentically feel positive emotions—not fake positive emotions.
Since Martin E. P. Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology encouraged psychologists to begin studying what makes humans do well in addition to studying pathology, great strides have been made in understanding how to thrive, or flourish, as Dr. Seligman refers to it. Tthe human mind and body function better when they are positively focused.
The very definition of the purpose of emotions has been redefined. We now know that the purpose of emotions to be able to express our feelings, especially regarding stress.
Our minds and bodies are not designed to function optimally when they are chronically stressed.
Negative emotion tells us that we are stressed. The worse the negative emotion, the more stress is being experienced. Positive emotions let us know that we are not stressed.
Emotions are a sensory feedback system designed to guide our behavior. Because we have misinterpreted their meaning, partially because of research published in 1939, they weren’t (and for most people, still aren’t) serving the purpose for which they were designed.
When you eat something good for you, it tastes good. Many poisonous substances taste bad. When your stress level is good for you, it feels good. When you are stressed, you feel bad.
When you touch something, and it hurts you, you know that touching it is not good for you. In the same way, when your perspective about a topic hurts emotionally, your perspective is not good for you. Note that it is your perspective, not necessarily anything wrong with the situation, that determines if you hurt.
Researchers in fields as diverse as medical science, sociology or psychiatry, emotion regulation, motivation theory, organizational behavior, and more have added to the body of knowledge that tells us that humans have greater success in every area of life when they experience more positive emotions.
Authenticity is an important contributor to good health. Jobs that require emotional labor, such as putting on a positive front even when it is not authentic, lead to worse health outcomes for employees.
Individuals who have more positive emotions live an average of 10.7 years longer based on two longitudinal studies that followed men and women for 70 years. They also do not spend as many years chronically ill before their death, even though they die at older ages.
Positive emotions lead to better outcomes in every area of life:
- Good physical health
- Good behavioral health
- People who are mentally healthy make more pro-health decisions about what they eat, exercise, sleep, and risky behaviors.
- People who are mentally healthy are less likely to become involved in drug and alcohol abuse, suicide, self-harm, and crime, and violence.
Better relationships romantically, with parents, with siblings, with their children, with their friends, with co-workers, with bosses and subordinates, with their neighbors.
Increased success in academics, sports, and careers.
Your habits of thought can add to, multiply, subtract from, or divide the amount of stress you experience from a situation. Negative rumination adds to (and can potentially increase) stress.
I’m sure you have noticed that not everyone responds to stressful situations the same way. People who do not become as stressed tend to be resilient and they are resilient because they have healthy habits of thought that make them feel more capable of dealing with life. Habits of thought can be changed. When an individual changes unhealthy habits of thought to healthier ones it creates transformational changes.
Life + Unhealthy habits of thought = stress
Unhealthy habits of thought include:
- Catastrophizing (or Awfulizing)
- Seeing problems as:
- Negative rumination or negative co-rumination
Life + Healthy habits of thought = less stress
Healthy habits of thought include:
- Realistic optimism
- Healthy self-esteem
- Using metacognition to think about what you are thinking and why and making adjustments to lower stress
My latest book,provides information on how to develop healthy habits of thought.