We all know that happiness is good for us because it makes us feel good, even if we had been down beforehand. Yet there is much more to this than you might think; it’s not just a case of chasing the ‘blues’ away; when you are happy your entire physical and mental being can be changed for the better. Here are some of the ways it can happen.
Happiness Is Good For Your Heart
Protecting your heart is something you should always take into consideration. This is the organ that pumps blood around the body, and a damaged heart can cause many different health problems, some of them chronic or even fatal. Therefore, taking care of it as much as possible should be a priority no matter what kind of life you lead or what your health is like overall.
The good news is that taking care of your heart is not a difficult thing to do. With a well-balanced, healthy diet and regular exercise, you can do a lot to help yourself be fit and well. Happiness will also help, and studies have shown that the happier in general someone is, the healthier their heart is too. That’s because their heart rates are lower (they are less stressed) and that means blood pressure is lower, reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease.
Happiness Improves Your Immune System
Everyone needs a good immune system as this is what protects your body from all kinds of illnesses. When you have a healthy immune system, you will be less likely to become unwell. If your immune system doesn’t work as it should and is damaged, you can much more easily pick up and be affected by any germs or bugs that are going around. If you’ve ever wondered why some people seem to be healthy all the time and others are constantly sneezing and sniffling, it will be their immune system that is to blame.
Happiness can improve the immune system and make it stronger, thereby making it less likely that you will come down with a cold or the flu – your body will be able to fight off the sickness before it can affect you. Studies have shown that people who are generally happier are able to produce more antibodies, and this is why their immune system is better and why they can usually fight off illness.
Happiness Combats Stress
Some stress is good for us. A little stress every now and then (perhaps when we have a deadline coming up, or a test or interview to deal with) makes us more alert and ready to not only protect ourselves but to get over obstacles quickly and more easily. Yet chronic stress is a different matter altogether. Chronic, or long term, stress is what can make us extremely ill. Chronic stress causes, amongst other things:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Cardiac arrest
When you are happy, your stress levels will reduce dramatically. This is for a number of reasons including the fact that when you are happy you won’t be thinking about whatever it is that has been causing you stress. You will, therefore, give your mind and body a chance to relax; when you are stressed, you tend to tense up which causes painful muscles, and your brain never gets a moment to stop whirling with ideas and worries. Thinking of something else that makes you smile will help to calm everything down.
Also, your body produces more serotonin when you are happy. This is the ‘happy hormone,’ and it actively works to reduce the amount of cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’ in your body.
Happiness Makes You More Productive
Being productive is a hugely important part of life, whether it is at work or at home. The more productive you can be when you need to be, the more free time you will have for relaxation and enjoyment – and happiness (which we know is extremely good for you). When you are less productive, you will spend much more time than necessary working on projects or doing jobs, and that will take up your free time, cause you stress, and potentially make you unwell too.
The happier you are, the more able you will be to use your time wisely. When you know you need to get things done, you will be able to get on with the job at hand. This means you can overcome challenges more easily, and this is something else that has been shown to be good for you; read more now about why this is.
Happiness Reduces Aches and Pains
Aches and pains can come from a lot of different sources. Over-exertion, tiredness, conditions such as arthritis, stress, even simply old age. Whatever the reason behind these aches and pains, they are unpleasant and can cause issues with mobility and general day to day life. Reducing them as much as possible is important, but not always easy.
Being happy can help, however. Unhappy people tend to have more pains than those who are generally happy. This could be a psychological thing; if you’re happy you just don’t notice that you’re in pain, or the pain doesn’t feel so bad. If you’re unhappy then you tend to focus on the negative, and that could be the pain you are suffering – it might even be that the more you think about it, the more it hurts.
Happiness Improves Longevity
Of course, there are a lot of conditions, not to mention accidents, that will cut short a life, but taking these out of the equation and looking purely at longevity statistics, being happy seems to help people live longer.
The more positive you are, the healthier you are as we’ve already established, plus the more you will get out of life and the more you will want to explore and learn. This will all help you to live longer. If you are miserable and never want to try anything exciting, then it could be that your life expectancy will suffer.