Abstract

Neuroscientists are typically interested in the brain in relation to disease, but much could also be learned by studying the brain in relation to health. The brain has processes, functional salutogenic mechanisms, that contribute to health by enabling one's outlook on life to benefit one's health. For example, the belief that things will work out as well as can reasonably be expected is a key aspect of the outlook of people who tend to stay well even when in potentially stressful situations. Believing in God, feeling happy, being mutually in love, and expecting things to change for the better are also outlooks that can be salutogenic. Beliefs need not even be rational or realistic in order for them to be salutogenic, as shown by phenomena such as faith healing and the placebo effect. Thus, the brain responds to stimuli and interprets them, mainly without one's awareness, in ways that can enhance one's well-being. Although little is presently known concerning neuropathways of functional salutogenic mechanisms, further research on relations between salutogenesis and brain function can be expected to provide new strategies for improving health worldwide.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 319-328
Launched on MUSE
2002-08-01
Open Access
No
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