THE LINK BETWEEN POSITIVE EMOTIONS AND HEALTH DEPENDS ON CULTURE
Complex and intense psycho-physiological experiences, positive emotions are often considered essential aspects of healthy living, but new research suggests that the link between emotion and health outcomes may vary by cultural context.
Also note that a study , which I spoke to you recently, indicates that people can be happier when they feel the emotions they desire, even if those emotions are unpleasant, such as anger or hatred.
To complete and refine this research, the results of a new study, published in the journal Psychological Science ( Association for Psychological Science ), show that having positive emotions is linked to better cardiovascular health in the United States. but not in Japan .
CULTURAL CONTEXT INFLUENCES OUR HEALTH
The key finding is that positive emotions predict blood lipid profiles differently across cultures. In the study, American adults who experience high levels of positive emotions, such as feeling “gay” and “extremely happy,” are more likely to have healthy blood lipid profiles, even after taking into account other factors such as age, sex, socioeconomic status and chronic conditions. However, this was not true for Japanese adults.
The results highlight the importance of cultural context in understanding the links between emotion and health, which has been largely ignored in the scientific literature. Although some studies have examined cultural differences in the connections between positive emotions and healthy functioning, this work is innovative in that it includes biological health measures and large representative samples from both countries.
CULTURAL VARIATION AND THE LINK BETWEEN EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING AND PHYSICAL WELL-BEING
The fact that positive emotions are conceived and valued differently in all cultures, researchers wondered if the health benefits observed in tandem with positive emotions could be specific to Western populations.
In American cultures, positive emotions are considered desirable and even encouraged by socialization. But in East Asian cultures, people generally regard positive emotions as having dark sides – they are fleeting, can draw unnecessary attention from others and can be a distraction rather than focusing on important tasks, according to the details of the study.
The researchers designed an intercultural comparison, examining data from two large representative adult studies: Midlife in the United States and Midlife in Japan, funded by the National Institute on Aging. The data included participants ‘notes of how often they felt 10 different positive emotions in the previous 30 days, and blood lipid measurements, which provided objective data on participants’ heart health.
The secret of happiness
Due to the global prevalence of coronary artery disease , blood lipids are considered important indicators of biological health in many West and East Asian countries.
As expected, the data indicated that having frequent positive emotions was associated with healthy lipid profiles for US participants. But there was no evidence of such a link for Japanese participants.
The differences may be due, in part, to the relationships between positive emotions and BMI (Body Mass Index) in each culture. Higher positive emotions were linked to a decrease in BMI and, in turn, to healthier lipid profiles among US participants, but not among Japanese participants.
By demonstrating that cultural variation in the link between emotional well-being and physical well-being, this research has great relevance among those seeking to promote well-being in communities and the workplace, including clinicians, policy makers and policy makers, and developments in public health.
Finally, in future work, researchers will examine longitudinal data (studies in which subjects are “measured” multiple times over time) to determine whether the evidence suggests a direct causal link between emotions and health. . They also hope to identify emotional profiles that may be more relevant or important to health outcomes in East Asian cultures.