Aristotle once said, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” Unfortunately, many people in today’s era of productivity have foregone happiness in pursuit of success, wealth and progress. That truth may be the very reason for the decline in heart, mental and overall health. If you, like so many other members of modern society, feel sick — whether physically or mentally — it may be time to seek out happiness. In fact, it’s essential that you do. Here’s why.
Happiness Promotes A Healthy Lifestyle
Mood plays a major role in the type of lifestyle you lead, and it appears that happy people lead far healthier lives than those who are sad, angry, depressed or otherwise not happy. Several studies back this assertion.
According to one study of more than 7,000 individuals, those with a positive outlook were 47% more likely to eat fruits and veggies than their despondent counterparts. Fruits and vegetables have long been known to provide numerous health benefits, including improved immune system and reduced risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The same study found that happy individuals were 33% more likely to exercise or partake in regular physical activity.
Another study of 700 participants found that happiness is connected to improved sleep quality as well. Those with a positive mindset experienced less trouble falling and staying asleep and woke feeling more refreshed than their glum peers.
Happiness Boosts The Immune System
Several rounds of research show that there’s a strong correlation between being healthy and happy. In one study, 350 adults opted to get exposed to the common cold virus. Prior to the exposure, researchers called the participants in two times a week over a six-week period. During each visit, researchers asked participants how often they experienced nine positive emotions, including feeling pleased, calm and energetic. The participants were then placed in quarantine for five days to see who would develop colds. Those who consistently reported feeling positive were less likely to develop a cold than those who could not relate to the positive emotions.
These findings have been replicated several times in several different studies. One experiment even found that a single person’s immune system response fluctuates with his or her emotions.
Happiness Is Good For The Heart
Studies also show that happiness may play a crucial role in heart health. Not only do eating better and exercising promote heart health but also, it appears that the simple act of being happy contributes to cardiovascular health as well. Happiness can help reduce blood pressure, which is a major risk factor in heart disease. It can also reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 26%, even for those who exhibit other risk factors, such as high cholesterol levels, older age and high blood pressure. What is more impressive, it can help people who currently live with the condition. A systematic review of the findings from 30 separate studies revealed that patients with more optimistic mindsets were 11% less likely to die from heart disease than their depressed counterparts.
Happiness Helps Fight Stress
It’s hard to stress when you’re happy, but apparently there’s a scientific reason for this. Extreme stress causes an increase in the hormone cortisol, which contributes to the harmful side effects of stress, such as weight gain, disruptive sleep, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Studies show that happiness helps decrease those cortisol levels by as much as 32%. This effect isn’t just fleeting, either. When researchers followed up with study participants after three years, they found there was a 20% difference in the cortisol levels of those who were happy and those who weren’t.
Happiness Increases Life Expectancy
When you combine all the health benefits of a good mood — healthy lifestyle, better immune system, increased heart health and less stress — it makes sense that those who are regularly happy live longer than those who are not. Though the connection between a positive outlook and longer life expectancy is not well understood, findings from several studies show that it’s there, and that’s all that matters.
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Paisley Hansen is a freelance writer and expert in health, fitness, and growing young. When she isn’t writing she can usually be found reading a good book or hitting the gym. She loves hearing from readers so feel free to contact her through Facebook.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.