Plenary: The Science of Happiness: Why Doctors Should Care about Positive Emotions

June 6, 2016

08:30  –  09:30

In this presentation, Dr. Pressman shares research about why doctors should care about happiness in their patients. This presentation will include an overview of the science of happiness, and in particular what we know about how positive feelings can get “under the skin” to influence physiological function and objective future health. Dr. Pressman will provide an overview of research showing that happiness operates as an antidote to psychological stress, and how it buffers against the negative cardiovascular, immunological, and endocrine effects of negative feelings. Finally, she will discuss the relevance of these findings to the emergency medicine community, as well as emerging evidence on positive psychological interventions that could improve the health of doctors as well as their patients.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the current state of happiness research in the field of medicine
  • Understand the physiological, social and behavioural pathways connecting positive emotions to better health
  • Learn how positive emotions can be harnessed to reduce the negative physiological and health consequences of stress