Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Happiness Improves Health And Lengthens Life

Health and happiness are strongly related and as I'm pretty sure you  all know by now, happiness is an inexpensive medicine with no sideffects. A recent review of more than 160 studies of human and animal subjects has found "clear and compelling evidence" that - all else being equal - happy people tend to live longer and experience better health than their unhappy peers.

In 2006 a study conducted by University Psychology Professor, Sheldon Cohen found that happiness and other positive emotions play a much more important role in health than we might be inclined to think. Researchers found that when happy people contract a virus, or “catch a cold”, they report fewer health symptoms and in fact, are less likely to contract the virus at all. Reporting more negative emotions such as depression, anxiety and anger was not associated with catching colds, though.

Another study on nuns in the US found that nuns who reported happiness, hope, and love in journals kept in their young adult years were likely to live longer.

A 2008 study found that people who report high happiness and life satisfaction are more likely a few years later to report good health. "Everything else being equal, if you are happy and satisfied with your life now, you are more likely to be healthy in the future. Importantly, these results are independent of several factors that impact on health, such as smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and age," said lead author Mohammad Siahpush, PhD.

A new US research conducted by Dr Karina Davidson into the link between happiness and heart disease also found that happier people are less likely than not so happy ones to suffer a heart attack or angina. Specialists strongly recommend doing more of the things that make you happy if you want to reduce risk of heart disease. That sounds pretty easy and reasonable, right? Dr Davidson speculates that happier people may spend less time re-living stressful events, which may, in turn, cause damage to health. Perhaps happier people recover more quickly from stress and that is a good thing for their health.

Keeping healthy can be lots of fun. Practice the activities that bring happiness into your life on a daily basis; don't postpone them until the holidays or worse (much worse) retirement. Find something to be glad about in every situation. Our life on this small, blue planet is short, so make the most of it. Think about what you truly value and cherish. It’s easy to lose touch with what really matters, so stay alert and aware. Enjoy the little things that come into your life; on the long run, they can be more important than the once in a lifetime events.

Health and happiness, like love and happiness, go hand-in-hand. Here's what you can do on a more pragmatic scale to keep yourself happy and healthy:

- Don't take yourself or life too seriously
- Realize that if you fail it is not the end of the world
- Share your feelings
- Allow yourself to dream with your eyes opened
- Believe in yourself
- Meditate
- Do things you love as often as possible
- Be grateful
- Forgive
- Enjoy some quiet time every day
- Go for a walk in nature
- Eat healthier
- Love, kiss & hug (did you know that hugs are amazing at relieving stress?)
- Smile & laugh all you can


nothingprofound said...

Odd! Recently, someone started a thread at BC citing a study which claimed the opposite: that sad people live longer than happy ones. These studies are so subjective. Perhaps quality of life is more at issue here than quantity. I don't think anyone could dispute the fact that happy people have a higher quality of life.

Happiness Addicted said...

I think it's a chain reaction -> if you are happy your life quality improves and you develop more efficient coping strategies, therefore you live a healthier and longer life (supposing you don't get hit by a car LOL:))

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