A positive outlook may add years to your life according to Dr. Judith Moskowitz, a professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Moskowitz’s “Staying Positive in the Midst of Stress” will be presented at the Greenhouse Theater at 6:30 PM Tuesday, June 13.
Moskowitz studies the unique mental and physical health effects of positive emotion, with a particular focus in the context of life stress and serious illness. Through her research, she has identified eight skills that build positive emotions which, in turn, may be good for your health. Dr. Moskowitz demonstrates how these skills increase well-being in people coping with stressful situations and provides examples on how they can practice these skills to bring more positive emotion into their lives.
Traditionally stress and coping studies have focused on natural and often adaptive negative emotions that occur in the context of stress: anxiety, sadness, and depressive mood. However, Moskowitz’s work shows that even in the context of life stress such as serious illness or death of a loved one, positive emotions can and do occur, allowing individuals to better cope and adapt to these situations.
What happens in the brain influences what happens in the body. When one faces a health crisis, actively cultivating positive emotions can boost the immune system and counter depression. Current studies have shown an indisputable correlation between having a positive outlook and less heart disease, better weight control, and lower blood sugar. Even when one is faced with an incurable illness, positive feelings and thought can improve one’s quality of life.
Dr. Moskowitz’s lecture, “Staying Positive in the Midst of Stress” is presented by the MRM Lecture Series on Tuesday, June 13th (6:30-8:30 PM) at the Greenhouse Theater, which includes a reception after the lecture.
Terry Ratner, a registered nurse and freelance writer has hosted a monthly community event, the Michael Ratner Memorial (MRM) Lecture Series, for the past eight years. Recently moved from Arizona to Chicago, MRM features the most innovative experts in specific medical fields. “Our goal is to share their wisdom and philosophies with the community.” says Ms. Ratner.
The MRM Lecture Series began when Ratner’s late husband, Michael Ratner, (owner of Tom’s Tavern and Restaurant in Phoenix) was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2009. Two weeks before Michael died in 2010, he said, “Don’t ever give up the wonderful lecture series you’ve created.” Ms. Ratner has never forgot those words.
The MRM Lecture Series has scheduled additional events for July, August and September focusing on health literacy, genomic data collection and autoimmune disease in women.
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