Happiness and Health
Positive emotions (including happiness) arise as the result of pleasurable engagement with the environment and may present themselves in a variety of forms (e.g., enthusiasm, calm, contentment). Traditionally, physical health is defined as the objective absence of disease or illness but can also include perceptions of wellness.
While the concept that happiness is tied to better health is not novel and is widely accepted by the public, the research in this area remains in its infancy. Due to the surge of interest in positive psychology over the last decade, researchers are beginning to unveil the predictive and protective effects of positive emotions on health. There are however many remaining critical research questions. This section will focus on the most robust and striking findings in the literature on positive emotions and physical health, in addition to a brief discussion...
References and Further Readings
- Danner, D. D., Snowdon, D. A., & Friesen, W. V. (2001). Positive emotions in early life and longevity: Findings from the nun study. Personality Processes and Individual Differences, 80(5), 804–813.Google Scholar
- Diener, E., & Lucas, R. E. (2000). Subjective emotional well-being. In M. Lewis & J. M. Haviland-Jones (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (pp. 325–334). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Watson, D., & Clark, L. A. (1999). The PANAS-X: Manual for the positive and negative affect schedule-expanded form. Iowa City: University of Iowa, Department of Psychology. Retrieved from http://www.psychology.uiowa.edu/Faculty/Watson/Watson.html