If you seem to be a resilient person by nature, you may be living a longer life than your less resilient peers. According to a HuffPost article by author Lindsay Holmes, “Researchers from Pennsylvania State University found that those who fail to keep a bright or calm outlook when experiencing minor, everyday stress appear to have higher levels of inflammation compared with their more cheerful counterparts.”
The article states, “The results, published in the journal Health Psychology, showed those who had a more negative reaction to daily stressors seemed to have elevated levels of inflammation in the body.” Why does this happen?
Inflammation in the body is caused by injury, illness or stress. While inflammation is a necessary reaction of our immune system, long-term inflammation can cause major health ailments.
An important takeaway is that an inflammation response is not necessarily dependent on the number of stressful situations an individual experiences, but rather their reaction to stressful situations. “A person’s frequency of stress may be less related to inflammation than [their] responses to stress,” study author Nancy Sin, a postdoctoral fellow in Penn State’s Center for Healthy Aging and Department of Biobehavioral Health, said in a statement. “It is how a person reacts to stress that is important… Positive emotions, and how they can help people in the event of stress, have really been overlooked.”
Stress and adversity are not going to disappear, so people’s ability to become more resilient to life’s challenges is more important than ever. If you find yourself typically looking at the glass as half empty, instead of half full, don’t worry, you aren’t doomed. There are ways to train our brains to enhance our ability to handle stress and be resilient.
TRACOM’s Adaptive Mindset for Resiliency program identifies several techniques that can help deal with both short-term and long-term stress. These include things as simple as doing a challenging math calculation as well as ongoing techniques like breathing exercises or meditation.
Click here to read the full Huffington Post article, “Looking On The Bright Side Can Help You Live Longer”.