Studies have shown that good health and happiness go hand-in-hand. In this case, we are referring to both physical and mental health. It is worth noting that stress and depression diminishes a person’s quality of life even more than physical pain does.
A person’s health status is a strong determining factor of the level of their happiness. However, the correlation between these two is quite complex. Poor health affects almost all the aspects of a person’s life including their happiness levels. It’s would, therefore, be correct to say that when a person’s health takes a hit, so does their happiness.
What does it mean to be happy?
When you are happy, it means that your life is pleasurable, engaging, and meaningful. To get here, one needs to focus all his/her energy on leading a life filled with lifelong happiness and not just the transitory feel-good pleasures.
Focus on the activities that you derive fulfillment from; those that “make you happy.” Engaging in activities that improve your well-being will provide some sort of emotional satisfaction that helps you to forget about your troubles- momentarily. Generally, an increase in happiness not only brings meaning to your life but also results in an increase in life expectancy.
The Link between Health and Happiness
When a person is unwell for a while but later gets well, they tend to gravitate back towards the level of happiness that they once enjoyed before their health deteriorated. In the case of severe chronic pain, the impact on a person’s happiness can be long-lasting.
Appropriate treatment can help relieve the symptoms for patients to improve their overall well-being to help them get back on track to living a happy life. Such interventions that reduce the symptoms have a great potential of drastically improving the person’s quality of life.
What can one do to maintain a healthy lifestyle to help them lead a life rich in happiness?
To stay healthy, you need to eat a balanced diet; one that has lost of fruits and veggies. You also need to get plenty of exercises, laugh more often, and get regular checkups. Regular exercising offers a huge boost to a person’s happiness. The kind of exercise that is recommended includes taking walks, jogging, running, weight training, and yoga.
Is the reverse also true? Does happiness affect your health?
You have, most probably, heard the cliché that “laughter is the best medicine.” This saying has been backed up by science and it has been proven that happiness and health are connected; a person’s level of happiness affects the level of his/her health.
When we are happy, we are better placed to live healthier lives that are stress-free. Positive psychology is now in use as a way of improving people’s emotional resilience to help them live more meaningful lives. Inducing positive feelings and emotions keeps depression and other mental disorders at bay. Doing this you will flourish as a person
How can you overcome the stress that affects your emotional and physical health?
If the stress that we face on a daily basis is left to accumulate, we develop anxiety and become unhappy. There are quite a number of ways in which you can recharge, overcome the stressors, and lead a balanced day-to-day life.
Here are some of the things that you can do to improve your well-being:
1. Be socially active
Improving your interpersonal skills will help you build meaningful relationships that will act as building blocks for a happy life.
2. Be compassionate and emotionally generous
When people are there for us, it makes us happy. Being there for others and being able to give them our support whenever they need it is fulfilling and makes us happier.
Giving back to the community is another great way of finding your purpose in life. You can do this by volunteering at charity organizations in your neighborhood.
3. Stop social comparison
Although social comparison is normal for humans as it’s a good source of motivation, try to keep it at healthy levels. Extreme social comparison is harmful, destructive, and leaves you feeling perpetually unsatisfied.
4. Find a good partner
Before committing in a relationship, find a partner who understands and complements you. Settling down with the wrong person can have a lasting negative impact on your happiness, and ultimately your health.
5. Always give gratitude
Write a not to anyone who has been particularly nice to you. Tell them thank you for the impact that they have had in your life, no matter how small or how profound. The recipient will be glad to know that you appreciate their presence in your life.
What is the impact of my happiness on my health?
Happiness is a powerful tool that helps us release unhealthy emotions such as anger, sadness, and fear. Happiness gets rid of emotional distress that may hinder us being relaxed, creative, and productive. The simplest way in which we can attain happiness is by laughing and smiling more often.
In addition to helping our minds recharge, happiness impacts our physical health in other ways such as:
1. Facilitates the release of “feel-good” hormones i.e. serotonin and endorphins which not only make us happy but also reduce the perception of pain. These hormones also play a role in promoting a healthier immune system; the number of white blood cells and other infection-fighting antibodies increases.
2. When we are happy, we laugh more. This helps to relax our belly muscles and, therefore, relieves tension that had built up.
3. Happiness lowers cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone. Lowering of the stress hormone minimizes any negative and unpleasant feelings that we had
4. Better lung health. When we are happy, our bodies become easily replenished with oxygen. This oxygen then gets into the blood and is distributed throughout the body.
5. Better heart health. Happy people generally have better function of blood vessels, better flow of blood, and a lower risk of blood pressure
There is really no magic formula that we have to live by in order to be happy and healthy. What makes one person happy will not necessarily impress the next. As we live life, we should always be on a constant journey of self-discovery. Experiment with different things to see what works best for you. Then check how these happiness factors impact your health- both mental and physical. When you’re happy, you’ll not only live a healthier life but will look and feel years younger.
Truly, there is no true health without happiness- and vice versa.