Why Feeling a Wide Range of Positive Emotions is Good For Your Health
Feeling a wide range of positive emotions may be more important to your health and well-being than the amount of feel-good you have in your life. People with a wide range of positive emotions had less inflammation in a study performed by US universities (including Cornell) and the German Institute for Economic Research.
Less inflammation is a very good thing! Inflammation has been implicated in many physical illnesses and in anxiety and depression.
The Emodiversity Study
The US-Germany study was looking at the effects of what the researchers called "emodiveristy:" a diversity of emotions.
Study participants completed end-of-day reports of their positive and negative emotions over 30 days. They were given 16 positive emotion words and 16 negative emotion words to choose from. Blood tests performed after the study period showed that participants who expressed greater diversity in positive emotions had lower inflammation markers and that this result was independent of the overall level of positive or negative emotion study participants felt.
One of the exciting conclusions of the study for me is its evidence of the importance of expanding your emotion vocabulary beyond what I call the Famous Four: mad, glad, sad, and afraid.
There are thousands of emotion words in the English language. Only knowing four is very limiting. It creates an emotional handicap that gets in the way of understanding what’s going on for yourself and for others. When it comes to the feel-good side of emotions, not being able to label what you're feeling more specifically than "happy" or "glad" gets in the way of savoring and really taking in the emotional nourishment you are meant to get from the emotion.
Being able to label your emotions is a foundational piece for Emotional Intelligence. This study backs up the idea that Emotional Intelligence impacts not only your relationships and work success - it even impacts your physical health.
Positive Feelings Words Chart
Here is the list of positive emotions that I use in all of my products to help you build your Emotional Intelligence:
A pdf of the study can be found here: https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/emo-emo0000343.pdf
- Ann Silvers