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The Physical Benefits of Happiness

October 4, 2018 by

Did you know that your emotional wellbeing has a big impact on your physical health? There are several reasons why this could be true. Happy people could be more likely to eat healthy, get regular physical activity, and do stress-relieving activities than unhappy people, all of which impact one’s overall health.

Unhappy people may also be more likely to overeat junk food, lay around on the couch all day, or drink too much alcohol instead of getting outside and being active, which contributes to poor health, both mentally and physically.

What?s interesting, though, is that research shows that being happy can have a direct impact on your health, and can even help increase longevity, after controlling for other lifestyle factors.

This means that someone who?s usually happy could have better physical health than someone who is unhappy, even if both of them ate the same foods, exercised the same amount, and had comparable sleeping habits. But why is this true?

First, happy people have higher immune systems than unhappy people. Being exposed to a common cold or flu does not mean you will definitely become sick, but your immune system has a big impact on this. Your emotional style, which refers to how often you experience positive emotions, impacts your risk of developing a cold. Studies have shown that one-third of people with a negative emotional style will come down with a cold for every 1/5 of people with a positive emotional style.

Having emotional wellbeing can also help you live longer. Having positive affect in addition to life satisfaction, optimism and a sense of humor is associated with an increased longevity in healthy people, including a reduced rate of mortality from heart disease. Further, people suffering from diseases but have a positive psychological well-being have reduced mortality rates, which suggests that happiness can protect your physical health.

Promoting worldwide happiness and well-being is not a new idea, as it has already been done in places such as Bhutan, where happiness is prioritized over financial development. According to the World Health Organization, Bhutan was the first country to make happiness a goal as a state policy.

WHO has said that turning gross national happiness into a global policy could have major benefits on people’s physical health worldwide, and trends for doing this are increasing. Studies have shown that happiness influences human health for several reasons. First, happiness is linked to positive cardiovascular health. Positive emotions can also influence one’s immune system through endocrine and behavioral factors. Being happy can also alter your hormones, which can lower levels of cortisol in your body, while negative moods are associated with increased blood glucose levels, meaning it could change insulin levels.

People do a lot of things to stay healthy, such as exercising and eating a healthy diet while trying to keep their stress levels down. It is important to remind people that being happy is another thing to work on to improve your physical and emotional well-being. People should learn to enjoy their jobs and be grateful for what they have.

Children who have a positive outlook may even be able to enjoy better health in adulthood. Certain attributes, such as enthusiasm, optimism, and hopefulness are especially beneficial in the prevention or management of health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and depression.

Experts believe that people’s go-to psychological state could be up to 50% genetic. The underlying determinant is personality traits that are caused by genetics, such as being sociable, stable, active, hardworking, and conscientious. However, while some people are naturally happier than others, it is still possible for everyone to become happier.

You may be having a hard time in your life, but keep in mind that everyone has negative emotions at one point or another and it?s not always easy to flip them with very easily. However, you can make small changes that can make a big difference in your happiness, such as showing gratitude.

Research has shown that keeping a gratitude diary and doing grateful reflection on a regular basis for three weeks leads to improvements in measures of depression, decreases stress, and increases happiness.

Simple things like writing thank you letters and smiling to strangers can help you live a more gracious life. Also, keeping a mindfulness diary and doing mindfulness meditation can help you live in the moment and increase your overall happiness as well.

It is also important to have a sense of purpose to be happy. Find activities that give you a sense of purpose and give meaning to your life. This may be your job or your family, or it could be a special hobby or skill.

Ultimately, making positive changes to improve your mental health and appreciating the small pleasures in life will improve your physical health.

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