An apple a day used to be enough to keep the doctor away. Or so we thought. We now know that a healthy diet and exercise are critical. We know we have to keep our weight down, and can't smoke or abuse alcohol in our quest for good health and longevity. Now we can also add spiritual activities like meditation to the wellness list. Meditation leads to improved emotional regulation, which leads to more positive social interactions, which leads to better health. Here's how it works.
Barbara Frederickson and her colleagues found a connection between a physiological measure of your vagus nerve activity and more positive emotions and social interactions. People with higher vagal tone, which has to do with heart regulation and the release of oxytocin, are happier and have more rewarding social interactions. After all, who wants to hang out with Debbie Downer? We're attracted to people who exude positivity and engage with us in upbeat ways.