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Uplifting The Sick: How Fostering Positive Emotions Help [VIDEO]

Update Date: Mar 30, 2017 10:34 AM EDT

People can live longer and healthier in spite of having some health crises. Studies have shown how fostering positive emotions help patients reap these benefits.

Not only does having a positive attitude toward life advantageous to mental health but it is also associated with better physical fitness. People may enjoy a lower risk of having heart diseases, high blood pressure, weight problems and elevated levels of sugar in the blood.

A team of researchers led by professor Judith T. Moskowitz of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago set out to find whether skills for cultivating a positive outlook can be learned by patients with serious health conditions. Moskowitz developed 8 skills which entailed daily awareness of positive events and relishing them by writing or telling someone about them, having a journal where they can write things they were grateful about and identifying their strength while noting the way it was utilized. It also involved working toward a goal and keeping track of the journey, describing a somewhat stressful event in a positive way, doing small acts of kindness and practicing mindfulness.

The researchers found that patients with HIV who practiced the skills did not take anti-depressants as often. They had a lower viral load and adhered to their medication regimen properly.

Greg de Meza, one of the volunteers in the study admitted that learning the skills helped him realize the value of his friendships after getting the diagnosis. He reported having better health.

Studies in which the skills were taught as well revealed how fostering positive emotions help patients with breast cancer and type 2 diabetes. Depression was reduced among the women with breast cancer. Positivity was observed to be higher, and negativity and stress were lower among the patients with diabetes.

Another study with people aged 50 and older suggested that a positive outlook could contribute to improved health and longevity, the Seattle Times reported.

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