Emotions and Health: Not Just a “First-World Problem”

French writer and philosopher Voltaire said something along the lines of “I have decided to be happy because it is good for my health.” Is this just a vague philosophical aphorism or does it have any basis in science? In fact, decades of research point to the idea that emotions are indeed related to health in many ways. Negative emotions, such as feeling depressed, are related to numerous negative health outcomes (e.g., pain, disease, mortality).…

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Ideal Affect: How What You Want to Feel Can Impact Your Choices

Think about how you feel right now. Nervous because of an upcoming deadline? Content because you spent the afternoon reading a satisfying book? Sad because you ran out of episodes of your favorite TV show? Whatever the answer may be, researchers who study emotion would call this your actual affect, or how you actually feel. Now think about how you want to feel. Do you wish you felt more happy? More excited? More relaxed? Your…

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Family Life for Working Parents: Is the home a haven or a source of stress?

Human beings are social by nature, and it is fascinating that the way we interact with each other has a profound impact on both psychological and physical health. Stephen Lepore & Tracey Revenson captured this sentiment well by stating that “social relationships are often a complicated brew of interactions that are at turns pleasant and supportive or aversive and hindering” (2011). In the context of a family, there are many positive and negative interactions that…

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