The Fredrickson Theory of positive emotions promotes us to think about these emotions not as an end themselves, but rather as access to a better life through the accumulation of lasting personal resources.
Negative emotions are important and are often based on survival, therefore emotions such as anger or anxiety have helped us, from an evolutionary perspective, in terms of fight or flight. Meaning when faced with danger, perhaps a predator, our emotions would prepare our bodies to either flee the situation or fight for our lives.
How our body prepares us for this fight or flight is to pump our system with Cortisol, as it gives you the energy you need to respond.
Cortisol is a normal hormone found in the body and is usually higher in the mornings. While Cortisol is a normal and very important element to the body’s response to stress, remaining in this state and not allowing the bodies relaxation response to activate can have grave effects.
Today we are often stressed at work or home, sometimes even on public transport, the difference is we do not follow this stress with physical action (ie. fight or flight) often it is followed by periods of sitting at our computers, or in meetings at work. High and prolonged levels of cortisol in the system can have many negative effects, such as
- Increased abdominal fat; associated with numerous health problems.
- Lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body.
- Impaired cognitive performance.
- Decreased bone density.
- Suppressed thyroid function.
- Decreased muscle mass.
- Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia.