Patch Adams said, “Being happy is the cure of all diseases.” Our career, education, family, friends, and some of the things we own in life contributes to how we can make ourselves happy. People, in general, strive to make themselves or their loved ones happy, sometimes to some extent, but how does it really help us? Psychologically, a happy person doesn’t need a lot and almost always has a stable mental condition; on the other hand, does happiness contribute to a healthier physical life? Let’s dive in and see how happiness can improve our health and the benefits a person can get just by being happy.
1. Goodbye, Aches and Pains
Being unhappy and sad is literally painful. One can feel their heart ache physically whenever they are experiencing negative feelings. On a study conducted in 2005, 124 women who were experiencing osteoarthritis and/or chronic pain showed and described during their weekly interviews that those who have more positive emotions such as interest, inspiration, and enthusiasm were generally less likely to experience pain.
Researchers believe that happier people may experience lower pain rates because of how they cope with what they are experiencing that helps reduce their impression of pain and have a broader mindset, one that welcomes new ideas and thoughts.
2. Happy Heart
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for the heart but thankfully, being happy reduces the risk of it. This may be due to the activities that make the heart stronger such as exercising, healthier eating habits, lower consumption of alcohol, and avoiding smoking.
Chances of heart diseases, the leading cause of deaths worldwide, are also lowered for happier people. Although studies have been performed, further research on this is still needed.
3. Break Away from Stress
Cortisol, a stress hormone, leads the body many harmful effects of stress such as increased weight, high blood pressure, sleep disorders, or even Type 2 Diabetes.
This stress hormone has been proven to be lowered when a person is happier according to a number of studies. In a study of more than 200 adults, it is shown that the cortisol levels were 32% lower for the individuals that are happier. Apart from these studies, we really feel less stressed whenever we’re happy, this happiness can come from the excitement of being able to buy something you’ve been eyeing for months or excitement of seeing your loved one after a long time, to getting your dream job.
4. Stronger Bodies
Happier people seem to be more resilient to diseases and disabilities. A research in 2008 shows that the participants who are happier and more satisfied with their life are 1.5 times less likely to have long-term health conditions after two years. Another study show that people with breast cancer cite that they are mostly unhappy and less optimistic before their diagnosis than the women without breast cancer. This study implies that being happy, content, and being an optimist may act as a wall against diseases.
5. Longer Happy Lives
Since happiness protects us from stress, disease, and unhealthy lifestyles, longer life expectancy are not far in sight for happy people. Life longevity is the ultimate health indicator and happier people tend to live seven to ten years longer than those who are not that happy. This is according to a study performed where it is apparent that the feeling of gratitude, contentment, amusement, and love that the participants expressed in their essays are associated with their long lives.
Even though the links of happiness to life longevity are not yet well understood, it may still be linked to lifestyle choices a person makes when they are happy.
Being happy is beneficial to our physical and mental health as the studies suggests. It promotes a healthy lifestyle and healthy relationships, it helps us battle our diseases and live a longer life. The studies are still young and there is more research that needs to be done but we can never go wrong with being happy. Focus on it and your heart, mind, and body will thank you for it.