Compsitive Psychology: The Benefits Of Happiness And Positive Happiness

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Only in recent years have psychologists begun to appreciate the benefits of happiness and positive emotion — benefits that include everything from enhanced creativity to improved immune-system function. Dr. Barbara Fredrickson at the University of North Carolina, a leader in the field of positive psychology, posed the question, “What good are positive emotions?” and came up with the following possibilities.
Happiness broadens your focus and expands your thinking
Positive emotions — curiosity, love, joy, contentment, wonder, excitement — expand your focus of attention. When you’re angry, your focus narrows to the source of your frustration and the object of your wrath. Your mind is like a heat-seeking missile, bent on destruction.
Contrast this
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Think about someone who makes you laugh, something that excites you, some activity that pleases you — it may provide just the escape you need from those negative emotions.
Happiness protects your health
You probably already know that getting upset or angry can raise your blood pressure and, in the worst-case scenario, precipitate a heart attack or stroke. But did you know that positive emotions can lower your blood pressure and risk for cardiovascular disease? Well, they can.
The pioneering work of Dr. Barbara Fredrickson illustrated that when stressed people watched a film that left them feeling amused and content, that led to quicker recovery of heart function. She also noted that stressed subjects who smiled while watching a sad movie had a more rapid heart rate recovery. Her thesis is that positive emotions undo the effects of stress and, therefore, protect a person’s health.
Other studies have shown that something as simple as getting a light touch on your hand from a compassionate friend or the act of petting your favorite animal can also lower your blood pressure — and, neither requires a prescription, gets you into a hassle with your insurance carrier, or has negative

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