At this point in time, many of us have learned that inflammation is the root cause of most chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and even cancer. We know we should be eating anti-inflammatory foods, with an emphasis on fatty acid-rich fish like tuna and sardines.
But what if decreasing the inflammation in our bodies was as simple as feeling more positive?
Ode to Joy
There have been a few studies in the past that have proven there is a link between positive emotions and lower levels of inflammation in the body. But another small study published in the journal Emotion found that inflammation can actually be reduced by experiencing a diverse range of positive emotions.
The researchers asked 175 people between the ages of 40 and 65 to keep a journal of their emotions for one month. During that time participants recorded how often and how strongly they felt 32 different emotions. 16 of those were positive emotions like enthusiastic, interested, determined, excited, amused, proud, happy, relaxed and calm, while 16 were negative emotions like upset, tired, irritable, anxious, jealous, fearful, lazy and stressed.
Six months later, each participant’s blood was drawn and tested for markers of inflammation. The results were a bit shocking to the researchers.
The people who experienced a wide range of positive emotions on a day-to-day basis had significantly lower inflammation than the rest of the group, despite other potential influencing factors like medical conditions, demographics or body mass index.
But the really interesting and important part of the study to understand is that it is not enough to just feel happy, though happiness sure does feel great. What the study found is that, to reduce inflammation throughout the body, it’s important to experience a diverse range of positive emotions.
How to Feel More Positive Emotions
Most of us deal with our fair share of life stressors, and it’s far too easy to be in a grumpy mood most of the time. Now that you know it’s important to increase the number of positive emotions you experience throughout the day, you’re probably thinking, “Well, great, how do I feel all of these emotions?”
You can use the following strategies to get more of those positive emotions – like feeling enthusiastic, interested, excited, amused, inspired, alert, strong, happy, relaxed, cheerful, and calm — into your life.
Which comes first, inflammation or negativity? It’s kind of a vicious cycle. When we have inflammation in the body, we have achy joints and digestive upset and other heath issues that make us feel lousy. When we feel lousy physically, we tend to then feel lousy emotionally.
The good news is, there’s a very good chance that if you start to eat healthier foods, focusing on anti-inflammatory foods, you’ll start to decrease your inflammation, which will make you feel better and more energized, which will in turn help you to feel more positive emotions.
Stop eating processed foods laden with refined sugars and trans fats and start adding the following foods to your diet:
- Leafy green veggies
- Coconut oil
- Chia seeds
Pray or Meditate
Embracing spirituality or a religious practice can help you feel a wide range of positive emotions. If you already follow a particular religious practice, then setting time aside each day to pray could be very beneficial.
If you are more spiritual than religious, you might find it beneficial to begin a daily meditation practice.
Both praying and meditation can also help to calm us and give us a sense of purpose. In turn we can feel inspired and hopeful for the future.
Stretch Your Mind and Body at the Same Time
Yoga has been scientifically studied for it effect on the brain’s neurotransmitters. Yoga helps your brain to release GABA, also known as your body’s “chill out” neurotransmitter. This is why practitioners of yoga claim the exercise helps them to feel calm and centered. If you remember, calm and relaxed were two of the 16 positive emotions.
Set Goals for Yourself
Some of the other positive emotions in the study were “proud” and “determined.” There is no better way to feel both of these emotions than to set goals for yourself and work toward reaching them.
It’s important to mention that whatever goals you set should be realistic and reachable. If you haven’t exercised in 10 years, setting a goal to run a marathon in a month is not very realistic. But setting a goal to committing to exercise 3 times a week is very realistic and reachable.
See a Different Perspective
We get into mental habits easily and forget that how we feel is, more often than not, a choice we make. I know it sounds simplistic, but it’s really true, and if you become more mindful of your own emotional life, you’ll see what I mean.
When a small irritant happens during your day, do you instantly become annoyed or even angry? If so, why? Is it a life or death situation? Is it bringing your or your lived ones real harm? Or is it just annoying?
Pay more attention to your mental and emotional habits and see if you can start to see things from a different perspective. Once you can, you’ll be able to make different choices so you can feel more positive emotions throughout the day.
If you have been suffering from a chronic illness based on inflammation in the body, you’ll want to use these strategies right away to get some much-needed relief and healing.
And speaking of healing from chronic inflammation, do you or someone you know suffer from the pain and stiffness of arthritis? As you know, arthritis is caused by inflammation, so feeling more positive should help.
But if you’d like to know what else you can do to naturally and permanently get rid of joint pain, pick up a copy of The Joint Pain Solution. It was written by a doctor who cured his own arthritis and he wants to show you how to do it, too. Click Here for more info!