Scientists have been conducting studies that show how happiness and good health are linked. It’s incredible how what we feel emotionally and mentally can affect our physical health, but it appears that this is exactly what happens. Here are some incredible ways that happiness is good for your health.
Happiness Promotes A Healthier Lifestyle
When you are feeling happy, your lifestyle will change for the better. Happier people mainly eat healthier diets, and much more fruit, vegetables, and whole grains than those who are feeling depressed or miserable. It may be because they don’t need the ‘comfort’ associated with heavier, more fat-filled foods that are bad for the body. Eating well has a range of health benefits including reduction in your chances of heart disease, diabetes, and strokes. As well as eating more healthily, happier people are more likely to be physically active, which is another way to be fitter and lose weight. Regular exercise also lowers the blood pressure and builds strong bones. Not only all of this but being happier promotes better sleeping habits, which are also good for your overall health.
Happiness Boosts The Immune System
Having a healthy, fully functioning immune system is essential for overall long-term health. Research shows that being happy keeps your immune system working wonderfully well. The research shows that happier people have a high antibody response to illness, which means the body is fighting much harder than those who are sadder in general. It is linked, they think, to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) which regulates your stress levels, digestions, hormones, and your immune system. Happiness seems to have a positive effect on this area of the body.
Happiness Helps To Reduce Stress
Too much stress in our lives means that we produce a lot more cortisol (the stress hormone) than we should. An excess of this hormone means that we experience disturbed sleep, high blood pressure, weight gain, and even type 2 diabetes. When people are happier, their cortisol levels are lower, so they are generally healthier. It is, of course, hard to just ‘be happy’ when you feel that life is stressful, but making a useful to-do list is a good idea. Then work your way through it, ticking things off as you go. It will have an immediate de-stressing effect. Examples of things to include might be to organize your health insurance with Health Sharing, to look for a job that has better hours to give you a good work-life balance, or to make an appointment to speak to a therapist about what’s troubling you. You could even to book some time away on a vacation so that you can really take the time to evaluate how and where your life is going, and make the necessary changes to make and keep you happy.
Happiness May Be Good For Your Heart
As we’ve seen, happiness can reduce your blood pressure which means that your heart is more protected. High blood pressure is one of the major causes of heart disease. However, what’s really interesting is that not only can happiness potentially keep your heart healthy if you haven’t developed any diseases and conditions, it can also help those who do have heart disease already. A study showed that happiness in patients with heart disease lowered their risk of death by 11 percent. It may have been in part due to an increase in exercise, better diets, and generally looking after themselves more, for example, they stopped smoking and cut out alcohol, but since this is much easier if you are feeling happy, the results can’t be ruled out.
Happiness Can Make You Live Longer
For those who are unhappy, for whatever reason, their life expectancy has been calculated as being around 14 percent lower than happy people. Having a positive attitude has long been something that people have suggested works well when people are ill – simply believing that they will become better helps the body to heal. It may be the same kind of theory that works on longevity too. Being happy (and feeling healthy) can boost the way the body works, keeping it as protected and as healthy as possible for the longest amount of time.
Happiness Can Reduce Pain
Being happy can make pain seem less. It may be because happy people can look past the pain and understand that whatever it is that is causing it will pass. This positive outlook certainly has benefits. Depressed people, or those with a gloomier outlook, may actually focus on the pain instead of trying to ignore it, and this can make the pain seem worse. Happier people tend to have a broader mindset, and they are able to distract themselves from the pain because they have better things to think about. It is an ideal coping strategy that those who are less happy have trouble managing.
How To Make Yourself Happier
It’s hugely important to be happy in life for your emotional and physical well-being. It’s not just as easy as waking up and deciding to be happy today, but there are some ways to make yourself happier. The first is to express gratitude. Look about you and see what there is to be thankful for, and make sure you acknowledge it all. At the end of the day, you should write down three things that you’re grateful for. The longer you do this, the happier you will feel.
Exercise is something else that makes us happy, even if we aren’t what people might term ‘physical people.’ Cardio exercise is the best way to increase happiness because it boosts the serotonin levels in the body. This hormone is called the ‘happy hormone,’ and it makes us feel great.
Sleeping well is something else that has a big effect on how happy we are. Think of the times you didn’t get enough quality sleep – how did you feel the next day? It wouldn’t have been happy and healthy. However, when you do sleep for enough time, you’ll feel so much better the next day and see things in a much more positive light.