Boost your health by fostering positive emotions each day

To flourish as people, we need to get essential nutrients not only from food, but daily moments of positive. Research by Dr. Barbara Frederickson, a University of North Carolina psychologist, reveals that accumulating micro-moments of positivity through enjoyable activities and interactions with other people can over time result in better health and well-being.

Her research demonstrates that the extent to which people can generate positive moments from everyday activities determines who flourishes and who doesn’t. That’s not Pollyanna thinking, but an evidence-based strategy for living that shows how repeated brief moments of positivity can build resilience to protect against stress and depression, while also fostering good health.

Frederickson’s research has identified the top 10 positive emotions people experience most often in their daily lives. Love is the one people feel most often, followed by joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration and awe. People who cultivate happiness in the emotional flavours of love, joy, hope, amusement and inspiration are healthier and live longer than those who don’t.

How awe boosts health

A 2016 University of Toronto Mississauga study measured the physiological effects of the awe we feel when touched by the beauty of art, nature or spirituality. People who experienced more positive emotions, like awe, wonder and amazement, had the lowest levels of pro-inflammatory proteins that signal the immune system to work harder. Sustained high levels of these proteins are linked to poorer health and type 2 diabetes, heart disease and depression.

Emotional wellness and recreation

The University of Victoria Institute on Aging & Lifelong Health recommends that seniors who want to maintain a healthy emotional outlook stay connected to others and make new friends through recreational activities like dancing, singing, yoga, exercise classes, walking clubs, playing bridge and other games. The laughs, hugs and smiles that can make your day happen while you’re doing things with someone with whom you click.

Instructor performing yoga with seniorsKeeping up long-term relationships with family and friends is important, too. Communicating regularly with grandchildren by e-mail or texting allows you to enjoy interacting with loved ones who live at a distance.

Join a book club. Recite a poem or act out a part in your favourite play. Paint, embroider or solve your daily crossword puzzle. Each of these can create special moments that give you pleasure.

At Chartwell, we know how important it is for our residents to maintain a positive and optimistic attitude for their overall health and happiness. Our Moments That Matter program is unique in that is encourages residents to share a special moment they’ve been dreaming about, and allow staff to help make it a reality. We know even small moments can leave a lasting impression of happiness and fulfilment. Learn more.