Get Happy, Be Healthy: How Being Happy Improves Your Overall Health
Scientists and health care providers have been telling us for years that sustained negative emotions are detrimental to our health. Some scientists wondered if the inverse might be true and major happiness research has been undertaken. The results are in. Great news! Happiness is good for your health and essential to your well-being! Research supports the claim that happier people are healthier and more successful people.
The Effects of Sustained Negative Emotions
If you are like most Americans, stress on the body has been a topic of conversation with your healthcare provider for quite some time now. Stress contributes to high blood pressure, migraines, tension headaches, heart disease, skin disorders, Alzheimer’s, obesity, gastrointestinal disorders, and mental illness. Chronic rage, sorrow, and fear have all been proven to have a very negative impact on your health as well.
The Effects of Sustained Positive Emotions
When undertaking the study of the effects of happiness on health, researchers had to determine the parameters that define happiness. The health and wellness editor for U.S. News and World Report, Angela Haupt recently shared on social media, “happiness indicators include life satisfaction, health, community, and civic engagement.”
Happiness and gratitude have been shown to have a positive impact on health. One of the best ways to boost the immune system is the maintenance of a positive emotional state. Happiness is also linked to lowered blood pressure and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
How to Increase Your Happiness
All of this information makes it hard to find a reason to resist upping your overall happiness. Here are a few ideas to help you find your bliss.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Being grateful is an excellent way to boot your happiness level. Every night jot down a few reasons what you are grateful for. This can be as simple as something beautiful you saw during the day or how nice your clean sheets feel. There is always a reason to be grateful if you are willing to look for one.
- Practice mindfulness. Joy tends to live in the present. Don’t let your mind constantly wander to past pains or future anxieties. Try to be present in the moment and focus on the sensory input you are receiving from your body.
- Meditate daily. Meditation reduces stress hormones, improves concentration and focus, and makes practicing mindfulness more powerful. You don’t have to be a Zen master to reap the benefits of meditation. Just sit or lie in a comfortable position in a place where you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Let all thoughts drift from your mind and turn all of your attention to the gentle rhythm of your breath. Don’t beat yourself up if your mind wanders. Just return your attention to your breath.
Sustained negative emotions have a negative impact on health while sustained positive emotions have a positive impact on health. This is not to imply that you should try to be happy all the time or never experience negative emotions. Negative emotions are a part of a healthy range of emotional depth and attempting to suppress them will probably cause more harm than good. It is when we sit in negative emotions that we risk our health, happiness, and well-being.