Did you know that being happy and having a positive mental outlook has been linked to a healthier, longer life?
There is a close link between how your level of happiness, and your physical health. Scientific research has detailed how negative emotions such as long-term stress or fear can increase risks of heart disease, stroke and diabetes over time. Chronic anger can also increase risk of heart disease and other inflammation diseases, as well.
On the other hand, having ‘emotional vitality’ or a sense of enthusiasm, happiness and engagement actually decreases the risk of heart disease! Plus it makes you more likely to engage in healthy behaviors to take care of yourself, like eating right, exercising and drinking responsibly.
While we might be predisposed to optimism or pessimism in general, there is also a lot that each individual can do to increase their happiness and cultivate a positive outlook.
These can include:
- Spend time with friends and family
- Spend time outdoors
- Meditation and faith-based activities
- Unplug from technology
- Physical activity, especially when they are social (classes or team sports)
- Music, listening or playing
- Creating or viewing art
Basically, taking time to do more than work or stress can have a direct impact on your outlook. So leave that report or stack of bills for the moment, and toss the ball around with your kids or catch up on your favorite comedy with your spouse. Stand in the grass and breathe. Enjoy a glass of wine or an art exhibit or a concert.
You deserve it, and dedicating some time towards happiness is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health.
Want to learn more? The Happiness Project
is a great place to start. The Harvard School of Public Health
is also a rich resource for research on the links between happiness and health.