What’s the first thing you think of when asking yourself if you’re healthy? Do you count how many days a week you exercise? How many times you’ve eaten dessert in past week? How often you’re able to get a good night’s sleep?
These are all aspects of our lives that contribute to overall health and well-being. But did you know that happiness is one of those key aspects as well? We know that feeling happy generally means we feel pretty good, and more and more scientific studies are showing there is a distinct association between the two:
“A 2012 review of more than 200 studies found a connection between positive psychological attributes, such as happiness, optimism and life satisfaction, and a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease.”1
Still not so sure? Then take a look at all the incredible ways a good mood could potentially benefit you!
Happiness and Healthiness
- Sleep better. A study of over 700 adults showed that those with sleep problems were 47% less likely to report high levels of happiness.2
- Promote healthy behaviors. People who tend to be in a good mood tend to take part in healthy behaviors like exercising and eating healthy.
- Lower stress. Levels of cortisol, a stress hormone linked to weight gain and high blood pressure, are likely to be lower for those who are happier.
- Protect your heart. Happiness is thought to help lower blood pressure, easing stress levels on the heart that could potentially lead to heart disease.
- Live longer. A 2015 long-term study tracking the correlation between happiness and survival rates showed a 14% higher risk of death for individuals who described themselves as unhappy.2
- Lessen Pain. Happiness is thought to help ease pain, especially discomfort caused by arthritis.
- Make better life choices. Happy people tend to make better choices because they typically have a healthy dose of self-confidence.
- Fight off sickness. Experiments have shown that a person’s immune system strength closely corresponds to their feelings of happiness (and sadness).3
- Lower the chances of chronic health issues. A large study conducted in Australia during 2008 found that individuals who categorized themselves as happy and satisfied were 1.5 times less likely to suffer from long-term health conditions.3
- Protect against frailty later in life. A 2004 study found that participants aged 65 and over who rated higher on happiness and hope were less likely to be frail, defined in the study as “impaired strength, endurance and balance.”3
1Landau, E. (April 3, 2015). Why happiness is healthy. Retrieved February 28, 2018, from https://www.cnn.com/2014/03/20/health/happiness-wellbeing-health/index.html
2Coyle, D. (August 27, 2017). How Being Happy Makes You Healthier. Retrieved February 28, 2018, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/happiness-and-health
3Newman, K. (July 28, 2015). Six Ways Happiness Is Good for Your Health. Retrieved February 28, 2018, from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/six_ways_happiness_is_good_for_your_health