750,000-999,999 SparkPoints 923,764

Happiness Improves Health and Lengthens Life

Friday, August 24, 2012

Happiness Improves Health and Lengthens Life

According to a study in the journal Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, a review of more than 160 studies of human and animal subjects has found “clear and compelling evidence” that – all things being equal – happy people tend to live longer and experience better health than their unhappy peers.

“Your subjective well-being – that is, feeling positive about your life, not stressed out, not depressed – contributes to both longevity and better health among healthy populations,” said lead study author, Ed Diener, Ph.d.

Tips to increase happiness

The good news? Recent research reports that you can change your thoughts and actions to increase your happiness. To increase your happiness, consider the following:

Live with purpose. People who strive for something personally significant – whether it’s learning a new skill, raising a good family, or changing careers – are happier than those who don’t have strong dreams or aspirations. Pick one or more significant goals and devote time and effort pursuing them.

Nurture your relationships. A Japanese study found that contented people’s happy experiences most often involved connecting with someone. Happy people have a strong bond with at least two out of three of these essential relationships: a partner, a friend, or a parent. Experts say the best way to improve a relationship is to invest time and energy in it.

Count your blessings. One way to feel happier is to recognize good things when they happen. Express gratitude for what you have privately and also by conveying appreciation to others. If you have trouble counting your blessings, try keeping a gratitude journal. Write down three to five things you’re grateful for once a week. Several studies show that people who record what they appreciate experience greater happiness and less anxiety.

Practice kindness. Do good things for others. Acting kind or helping others makes you feel capable, compassionate and full of purpose. In one recent study, researchers could literally see the benefits of kindness. Subjects were hooked up to a brain-imaging mechanism and asked to click yes or no to charity-giving opportunities. When they donated, the machine registered a boost in blood flow to a part of the brain associated with happiness.

Cultivate optimism. Keep a journal where you write your best possible future. Practice seeing the bright side of every situation. Studies show that optimistic thoughts can be self-fulfilling and that optimists are healthier, happier and live longer than pessimists.
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I love your blogs they are so uplifting!
    Happiness is something that people struggle with on a daily basis i had never met someone who could truly say they were happy. Being kind to others is rewarding and having a purpose in life brightens up a life!
    3039 days ago
  • ENUFF81020
    Wow, this is an impressive review of a significant piece of information. Happiness is about how we fit into the world around us and how we work with others. This is an important kind of love and it has a lot to do with overeating and with weight loss as well. When we are busy with the relationships in our lives, we don't need to eat for emotional reasons as regularly and our focus is more balanced.
    Thinking about others--our family, friends, co-workers and colleagues is a great way to spend moments in our lives. It is a way to share that is healthy and wise.
    Thanks for sharing this!!
    Gentle hugs,
    3160 days ago
    I love this blog. So true. I choose to be positive and happy and most days I am. Thanks for sharing! Best to you!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3182 days ago
    3184 days ago
    Happiness is a choice... plan and simple....
    3184 days ago
    I like this blog. It has given me something to think about. Yesterday during staff devotions we talked about loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. Sometimes we forget to love ourselves because we tend to help and serve others in our everyday lives and neglect ourselve. Balance is key.

    We must live with purpose. Cultivate relatinships. Be kind. Live life and truly be grateful by remembering and counting our blessings.

    To add to my excitement yesterday I heard Beyonces song I am Here or something to that nature for the first time. What a great message to encourage us in this journey to live on purpose for ourselves and those God has placed in our lives. Great article. Thanks. emoticon
    3184 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.