This Is The Healthiest Emotion You Can Feel

Photographed by Winnie Au.
We know there are benefits to being a happy person, but getting there can seem a little intimidating. However, new research suggests that feeling one common positive emotion in particular may be associated with certain health benefits, reports The New York Times. In the study, published earlier this year in the journal Emotion, college students were given questionnaires about how often they felt positive vs. negative emotions during the past month. The researchers ran two different experiments in which they checked in on participants' levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), an important marker of inflammation. Results of the first experiment showed that participants who expressed negative emotions more often had higher IL-6 levels than those who felt more positive. In the second experiment, results showed that how frequently participants felt one particular emotion — awe — corresponded to their IL-6 levels better than any of the other six feelings that were tested. The more people felt awe, the healthier their IL-6 levels looked. Similar research has shown that the "healthiest" personality trait is conscientiousness, because it may act as a protective factor against disease. Someone who is extra-conscientious may be more likely to actually follow doctors' orders or be vigilant about monitoring for disease complications. But, extraversion and openness were also associated with better health outcomes. One might, in turn, imagine that extraverted and open people are pretty good at being in awe of things. And, if you happen to be in need of a little extra awe today, we can help.

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