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According to Simran K. Rattan, MD, CCFP, Positive Emotions Create a Mental Surge that Leads to Creativity and an Openness to Tackle Challenges

Simran K. Rattan, MD, Many scientific studies have shown that positive emotions have been associated with improved health, well-being, and longevity. People who learn to maximize their positive emotions and harness them in times of sadness, grief, and negativity, live to master resilience and lead a more harmonious life.

My name is Simran K. Rattan, MD, CCFP, and I’m a Diplomate of the American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABOIM). I’m also a graduate fellow from the Andrew Weil Center of Integrative Medicine and a speaker and coach in integrative health, spiritual health, and wellness.

As an integrative medicine physician and integrative health coach, I strive to create a positive and encouraging environment to help patients start their health journey with positive emotions.  On their first visit, I ask my health partners (patients) to imagine what it feels like to be their best self and in their best health.

I like to ask: What is it you love to do, feel, and be? The answers are often influenced by the stage of life they are in. For example, one day a 55-year-old woman came in and had a difficult time answering what she would love to be. It was hard for her because for so long it was about doing things for her children and her spouse, so she never thought about what she would love to be.  She enjoyed cooking and sitting with her family for dinner, but her children were now grown and no longer needed her as they once did. She was happy to see her children become independent but felt lost and no longer knew her purpose.  This affected her mood and created negative emotions. She was dissatisfied, with a restless spirit.

I asked her to think about the positive emotions she experiences as a mother and the joy she feels seeing her children grow and flourish. I asked: What could she do to create a connection with her children and husband at this stage in their lives? How could she honor the need of her spirit to feel positively connected to her family?

Her eyes lit up, and she began talking about her positive feelings and experiences. It didn’t take long for her to talk about other ways to honor her spirit’s need for meaning and connection. It became clear to her that she could honor her value for connection in ways that were different than in the past.

When patients focus on their strengths, values, and positive emotions, they create inspiration, motivation, as well as mental and spiritual well-being. Helping patients foster positivity within and gain the inspiration and motivation to create a healthy, wholesome life is why I find integrative medicine so deeply rewarding.