Happiness leads to better healthHappiness, defined as optimism and a sense of well-being, really does make us healthier, but why are some individuals happy while others struggle? Researchers now believe that people are not only born with a normal level of subjective well-being, their mood can also be affected by other factors such as daily stress, their environment and other unexpected events and tragedies.
Experts note, however, that people who are truly happy dont necessarily avoid stressors, but they are able to manage their emotional ups and downs while maintaining a sense of meaning and purpose for their lives.
Happiness and your health
Does happiness really affect your life and physical well-being? Yes, scientist have reviewed more than 200 happiness studies and found that those who report a high level of happiness, a satisfaction with their life and optimism do have a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease.
But researchers are quick to note that happiness is just one variable in the study. Its not that happiness reduces the incidence of cardiovascular risks, its that happier people tend to do the activities that reduce heart issues such as exercising, eating a balanced diet and getting adequate sleep. Individuals who had a better attitude also were more likely to maintain a normal body weight which correlates to low blood pressure and decreased risk for diabetes.
Is happiness genetic?
We know happiness is good for you, but is it something you can control? One of my mothers favorite sayings was happiness is a choice, but scientists have concluded that there is some evidence that genetics can play a role. For instance, research has shown that identical twins tend to have a similar level of happiness, more so than fraternal twins.
So what if you are predisposed to unhappiness? Scientists agree there may be a biological baseline mood for most people, but that does not mean that you cant improve your happiness by taking the right actions and eliminating environmental constraints which might be lowering your level of happiness.
What are some ways to increase level of happiness?
Physical well-being can be a healthy first step to happiness, but other individuals may need to eliminate toxic relationships. Another issue is income. Although money does not buy happiness, studies do suggest that emotional well-being does increase up to a specific income point, which is approximately $75,000.
Scientists believe that if you are able to earn at least this amount of money you have the freedom and ability get proper healthcare, enjoy leisure activities such as vacations, and do other activities which are important to you.
What does not generally bring happiness is possessions. So even if you were able to buy that Corvette you always wanted its unlikely to bring you long-term satisfaction or a continued sense of contentment. Researchers claim that its important to create memories and experiences that bring you pleasure and make your life meaningful.
Others claim happiness can be as easy as living in the moment and being grateful. But regardless of how you define happiness, if you can achieve it, you are likely to live a healthier life.