The health benefits of happiness
The pursuit of happiness is not just a right–it’s a choice that may lead to longer life and better health.
People who consider themselves happy rate their health as better than those with a lower level of happiness. And one Australian study indicates happy people live three years longer on average.
Boost your everyday joy
Much of the research on personal happiness indicates a certain genetic component. In other words, some people are “born” happier. But you can take action to increase your level of happiness by incorporating these things into your everyday life:
- Cultivating gratitude.
- Fostering forgiveness.
- Engaging in meaningful activities.
- Replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts.
- Encouraging friendship and community.
Watching your weight may increase happiness as well, because obese people face both health issues and negative perceptions from society. In a 2003 study, in fact, obese pre-teens rated their quality of life as poorly as that of children facing life-threatening illness.
Be a participant
While it may be difficult to measure happiness, which fluctuates constantly, increasing happiness is a conscious decision. A big key is active participation in life. Try adding more exercise to your day, which increases the production of endorphins, the “happiness hormones.” Make time for a hobby you enjoy. Meditate. Get together with friends. Join a club. Volunteer. Eat healthfully. Make personal growth a priority, and happiness will follow.