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Your Health Matters

What’s Happiness Got to Do with It?

“Happiness is when what you think, say and do are all the same.”—GANDHI

Happy-familyGot Happiness? What is Your Happiness quotient? Why is it important to our health and how do we get it? Apparently happiness makes a significant difference in whether we stay healthy and live longer. Although happiness isn’t touted to prevent disease, strong evidence has shown that enjoyment of life contributes to better health and a longer lifespan.

For centuries, human happiness has fascinated clerics, philosophers, writers, and therapists of all types. Over 360 national and international scientific studies have concluded that while happiness may not produce health, with few exceptions, it can prevent illness and extend our lifespan.

Higher rates of disease appear to correlate with lack of enjoyment of our daily activities, pessimism, and chronic anger. A 40 year study of over 5,000 university students produced results that showed that students who were optimistic lived longer than their pessimistic peers. Animal studies also have shown that stress can produce heart problems and suppressed immune function.KId-cut-out

While money matters, health matters, and relationships matter, there are many personal choices that we can make to improve our circumstances. These choices can change our direction and positively influence our life’s quality. There are, of course, unavoidable turns in life that just happen. Yet focusing on what we can do is a step in the right direction.

So what can we do to make life happier? Here are some

  • avoid obesity and inactivity
  • eat lots of organic fruits and vegetables
  • don’t smoke
  • get plenty of enjoyable exercise
  • smile, laugh, and have fun
  • spend more time doing things you love
  • meditate
  • express gratitude daily
  • show compassion
  • help others
  • socialize
  • explore and enjoy nature
  • be emotionally generousYoga
  • learn to control anger and express it appropriately

Whether happiness helps to produce health or health helps to produce happiness, there is clearly a relationship. So let’s try it. We’ll all feel better in the new year.

References: Eight Scientific Studies at the Gallup Organization of Princeton, New Jersey. Journal of Applied Psychology: Health and Well Being. www.aspca.org, or www.moderndogmagazine.com.