10 Oct Positive Psychology and Good Health
There are numerous studies linking positive emotions to improved health outcomes (Steptoe & Wardle, 2005). Several researchers are speculating that the pathway might be the autonomic nervous system (ANS) (Thayer & Ruiz-Padial, 2006). The ANS is responsible for managing homeostasis in the body. It consists of two major parts – the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) which generally increases the activity of organs within the body (eg increases the heart rate) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) which has the opposite effects to the SNS (eg slows the heart rate ). A useful analogy is that the SNS acts like the accelerator on your car and the PNS like the brakes.
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