Happiness Leads To Better Health – It’s Scientifically Proved
Conversely, being healthier also contributes to happiness. It is, therefore, a worthy circle that begins.
We have listed the studies that show that happiness has a direct impact on the health of individuals.
1- Being Happy Encourages Healthy Eating
2- Happiness Could Strengthen The Immune System
3- Happiness Helps Fight Stress
4- Happiness Could Protect Your Heart
5- Happy People Would Live Longer
6- Happiness Could Help Reduce Pain
7- Happiness Enables You To Sleep Better
Happiness Encourages Healthy Eating
It is not Bridget Jones’s Diary, slumped on her sofa to devour an entire tub of ice cream, who will say the opposite.
Studies show that happy people tend to have a more balanced diet, with higher intakes of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains (Dubois et al., 2012 and Carvajal et al., 2012).
Another study of more than 7,000 adults found that people with a positive mindset were 47% more likely to consume fresh vegetables and fruits than those who were less positive.
Diets rich fruits and vegetables offer many health benefits. It includes less risk of diabetes, stroke or heart disease.
In the same study, researchers found that positive people were 33% more likely to be active physically, with 10 or more hours of physical activity per week.
Happiness Could Strengthen the Immune System
A functioning immune system is important for overall health. Research has shown that being happier can help maintain a healthy immune system (Costanzo et al., 2004).
A study of over 300 people showed that the least happy people were almost three times more likely to develop a cold than those who were happier (Cohen et al., 2003).
In another study, researchers found that happier students were almost twice as likely to have a high antibody response after receiving a hepatitis B vaccine.
The effect of the feeling of happiness on the immune system is still being studied to understand how it works. It could be linked to the impact of happiness on the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which regulates the immune system and releases hormones such as cortisol, also called stress hormone.
Happiness Helps Fight Stress
Excess stress generally increases cortisol levels, which can induce sleep disorders, weight gain, type 2 diabetes, or even high blood pressure.
Several studies show that cortisol levels tend to be lower when people are happier (Smyth et al., 1998).
For example, one experiment involving more than 200 adults subjected participants to a series of stressful tasks. Measurements then revealed that the cortisol levels of the happiest people were 32% lower than those of the unhappy participants (Steptoe et al., 2005).
Moreover, these beneficial effects seem to persist over time. When the researchers controlled the same group of adults three years later, they found a 20% difference in cortisol levels among the happiest and least happy people.
Happiness Could Protect Your Heart
Happiness can protect the heart by reducing blood pressure. BP is one of the major risk factors for heart disease.
Further, a study of over 6,500 people over the age of 65 found that feeling happier was linked to a 9 percent lower risk of high blood pressure (Steptoe et al., 2005).
Many studies have also shown that being happy and optimistic is associated with a 13–26% lower risk of heart disease (Ostir et al., 2006).
However, further research is needed to confirm this causal relationship.
A study in older adults revealed that positive well-being also reduced stroke risk by 26%. A stroke triggers when blood flow to the brain is unstable.
Happy People Would Live Longer
A 2015 study looked at the effect of happiness on the life expectancy of 32,000 people (Lawrence et al., 2015).
The probability of death over the 30 years study period was 14% higher in unhappy individuals compared to those who were happier.
A large meta-analysis examined the relationship between moral and mental well-being and longevity in healthy people and those with a health condition such as heart or kidney disease (Chida and Steptoe, 2008).
Higher moral well-being was found to have more survival, reducing the death ratio by 18% in healthy people and by 2% in those with pre-existing diseases.
Happiness Could Help Reduce Pain
A number of studies have shown that being happier can reduce the pain associated with arthritis (Strand et al., 2006).
A study of more than 1,000 people with knee arthritis found that happy people took 700 more steps per day, or 8% more than less happy people (White et al., 2012).
Happiness can also help reduce pain caused by other conditions. A study of just under 1,000 people recovering from stroke shows that the happiest people had 13% less pain three months after leaving the hospital (Berges et al., 2011).
Happiness Helps You Sleep Better
Being happier can also improve sleep, which is important for focus, productivity, exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight.
A study of over 900 adults found that sleep problems were 47% higher among people who reported being less happy (Steptoe et al., 2007).
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