Behavior Triggers Inflammation

Posted on April 7, 2016, 6 a.m. in Behavior Inflammation Stress

Staying calm and collected in a stressful situation lowers the body’s inflammatory processes.

Reacting positively to stressful situations may play a key role in long-term health.  Nancy Sin, from Penn State (Pennsylvania, USA), and colleagues measured reactions to stress and the physiological effects of stress among 872 adults enrolled in the National Study of Daily Experiences.  Blood samples of participants were obtained during a separate clinic visit and assayed for inflammatory markers.  Subjects were interviewed by phone every day for eight consecutive days. They were asked to rate their positive and negative emotions, as well as whether or not they encountered stressors.  The team found that those who fail to maintain positive moods such as cheerfulness or calm when faced with the minor stressors of everyday life displayed elevated levels of inflammation. Among women, negative reactions to stress associated with higher C-reactive protein.   Writing that: “Adults who fail to maintain positive affect when faced with minor stressors in everyday life appear to have elevated levels of IL-6, a marker of inflammation,” the study authors warn that: “Women who experience increased negative affect when faced with minor stressors may be at particular risk of elevated inflammation."

Sin NL, Graham-Engeland JE, Ong AD, Almeida DM. “Affective Reactivity to Daily Stressors Is Associated With Elevated Inflammation.”  Health Psychol. 2015 Jun 1.