A team of researchers has suggested that reacting positively to stressful situations may play a key role in long-term health.
In a study measuring adults’ reactions to stress and how it affects their bodies, researchers found that adults who fail to maintain positive moods such as cheerfulness or calm when faced with the minor stressors of everyday life appear to have elevated levels of inflammation. Furthermore, women can be at heightened risk.
Inflammatory responses are part of the body’s ability to protect itself via the immune system. However, chronic, long-term, inflammation can undermine health, and appears to play a role in obesity, heart disease and cancer.
These findings add to growing body of evidence regarding the health implications of affective reactivity, emotional response, to daily stressors.
Nancy Sin said that a person’s frequency of stress may be less related to inflammation than responses to stress, adding that it is how a person reacts to stress that is important.
The study appears in Health Psychology.