Who Is Mistral Dawn?

Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)) where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. Taken By The Huntsman is her first effort at writing fiction and if it is well received she has ideas for several more novels and short-stories in this series. Please feel free to visit her on FaceBook or drop her a line at mistralkdawn@gmail.com

Monday, June 15, 2015

Is #Laughter The #Best #Medicine? #Positivity #BlogTour! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Glad you all could make it back today for my second installment in this Positivity Blog Tour. :-) Last time I talked about how the words we use to describe things often influence our attitude towards those things. Today I'm going to talk about how our attitude can influence our well-being.

You might expect that those who have good coping skills, who are able to find the bright side of things and shrug off adversity, would also likely be less prone to psychological disturbances, such as anxiety, depression, etc., and according to some of the experts you would seem to be correct.(1,4) What's more, it also seems to be possible to learn such coping skills by developing strategies to help you relax and develop a positive attitude...though such lessons often require the assistance of a professional human behavioral or psychological expert before the necessary skills can be mastered.(1,4)

But something you might not expect is that a positive attitude also seems to have a beneficial effect on our physical well-being.(2,3,4) According to multiple studies done on the subject, it seems as though a positive outlook can help improve cardiovascular health and immune system function, reduce inflammatory response, and overall increase our longevity.(2,3,4) Also, something I found quite interesting, in at least one study it was found that if the researchers induced a temporary feeling of contentment in the study participants (ie: telling them a happy story, letting them smell a pleasant scent, etc.), they were able to measure a reduction in certain pro-inflammatory cytokines in that person's blood!(2) So, it seems that 'fake it 'til you make it' might be a really good philosophy. ;-)

Now obviously, happiness and optimism aren't things that come easily to everyone. Human psychology is far from a simple field of study. Our environment, experiences, memories, personalities, genetics, and physical condition and history all influence our mental state. In fact, some people might never be able to achieve a positive mind-state without the intervention of an expert in the field of psychological and/or neurological medicine, because their own brain chemistry is working against them. This isn't a case of them being 'weak,' any more than someone with diabetes is weak for being unable to regulate their blood sugar without medical intervention, it is a case of the expertise of a medical professional being needed to aid that person to return to a state of good health. Such aid is available, so if you believe you may need it, please contact your physician as soon as possible and request a referral to a mental health specialist in your area.

The purpose of this post isn't to make anyone feel inadequate or as though they are to blame for any physical or psychological challenges they may face, but only to point out that there is more than one reason to try to improve our attitudes. Everyone has difficulties and hardships they must deal with and, hopefully, overcome, and no one is in any position to judge anyone else's struggle. Each of us has our own journey to make, and each of us has to decide for ourselves how best to make it, but I hope that after reading this some of you may decide to try to find the things that work for you to help improve your outlook.

So, since it seems that laughter really may be the best medicine, I'm challenging myself to find at least three things every day to laugh/smile at, say something nice about, or absorb with appreciation. I would absolutely love it if the rest of you would share your thoughts in the comments, and tell me about any strategies you may have found to help improve your mood, and/or any way(s) you've challenged yourselves to make positive changes in your lives.


1. Fredrickson, B. (2000). Cultivating positive emotions to optimize health and well-being. Prevention & Treatment, 3.

2. Matsunaga, M., Isowa, T., Yamakawa, K., Sadato, N., & Ohira, H. (2011). Associations among perceived happiness, medial prefrontal cortex activity, pro-inflammatory cytokine, and subjective social status in middle-aged Japanese population. Neuroscience Research, 32(4), 458-463.

3. Steptoe, A., Dockray, S., & Wardle, J. (2009). Positive Affect and Psychobiological Processes Relevant to Health. Journal of Personality, 1747-1776.

4. Tugade, M., Fredrickson, B., & Barrett, L. (2005). Psychological Resilience and Positive Emotional Granularity: Examining the Benefits of Positive Emotions on Coping and Health. Journal of Personality J Personality, 1161-1190.

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