6 ways emotional vitality boosts and sustains physical health

Excerpt: Research studies show that emotional vitality nourishes and helps restore physical health throughout life. People can cultivate and increase emotional vitality by engaging in enjoyable activities, sharing with others, taking nature breaks and being physically active. Emotional vitality helps keep your heart healthy, protects against diabetes and stroke, improves rehabilitation after an injury and helps maintain mobility after hospitalization.

Researchers have found that emotional vitality nourishes and helps restore physical health throughout life. People with high emotional vitality have a high level of energy and positive well-being, and regulate their emotions effectively,* says the Harvard School of Public Health. Emotional vitality is also described as a positive and restorative emotional state associated with a sense of enthusiasm and energy,* according to the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.

Emotional vitality bolsters health by encouraging healthy behaviours, dampening a person’s reactivity to stress and having beneficial effects on the body’s neuroendocrine, immune, inflammatory and cardiovascular systems.*

Cultivating emotional vitality

You can cultivate or build emotional vitality and resilience by engaging in enjoyable activities, sharing with others, lending help, taking a break in nature, being physically active and increasing mindful awareness.*

Emotional vitality can improve physical health and protect against illness or disability in the following ways:

  1. Keep the heart healthy
    People with a high level of emotional vitality had a lower risk of heart disease* over a 15-year period, reported an Archives of General Psychiatry study. Emotional vitality may help reduce cardiovascular risk by motivating health-promoting behaviours and lowering heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol (stress hormone) levels,* the researchers said.

  2. Decrease diabetes risk
    Men and women who displayed more emotional vitality had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes,* a Harvard study reported.

  3. Improve rehabilitation after illness or injury
    Emotional vitality can help people adapt physically and emotionally to living with a chronic illness or injury, and optimizes rehabilitation outcomes,* according to a McGill University study.

  4. Lower blood pressure and prevent stroke
    Laval University researchers reported that emotionally vital younger and older adults were less likely to develop high blood pressure* over a 10-year period. High levels of emotional vitality also reduce stroke risk,* says a Healthy Psychology study.

  5. Preserve mobility
    Emotionally vital older adults maintained their mobility after hospitalization with an acute medical illness, compared with low-vitality patients whose mobility often declined,* reported a Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study.

  6. Prevent new disability and sustain longevity
    Emotionally vital older women with moderate to severe physical disabilities were protected against progression of their disability and had a lower risk of dying prematurely,* according to the Women’s Health and Aging study.

*The following source provided a reference for this blog:

1. Archives of General Psychiatry. “Emotional vitality and incident coronary heart disease.” (2007), online: https://scottbarrykaufman.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Emotional-Vitality-and-Incident-Coronary-Herat-Disease.pdf

2. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. “Building emotional resilience to promote health.” (2009), online: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2790158/

3. Healthy Psychology. “The prospective association between positive psychological well-being and diabetes.” (2015), online: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5008848/

4. McGill University. “Emotional vitality: Concept of importance for rehabilitation.” (2013), online: https://www.archives-pmr.org/article/S0003-9993(12)01245-2/fulltext

5. Laval University. “Taking the tension out of hypertension: a prospective study of psychological well-being and hypertension. (2014), online: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5010231/

6. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. “Emotional vitality and change in lower extremity function after acute medical illness and hospitalization.” (2003), online: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1046/j.1532-5415.2003.51572_1.x

7. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. “The protective effect of emotional vitality on adverse health outcomes in disabled older women.” (2015), online: https://jhu.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/the-protective-effect-of-emotional-vitality-on-adverse-health-out-4