I was out the other day on my bike and feeling very happy with life. Being out on my bike going for long rides makes me feel happy and free just like when I was a little kid. Looking at all the beauty around me, the wind on my face and not a worry in the world. Out in nature challenging myself to see how far I can go, how fit I am, all makes me feel happy.
It got me thinking how does happiness affect our life? If we are deeply happy do we have better health? Is being content being happy? How do we measure happiness and is it important to measure happiness in our life? Do others make us happy? Is happiness being grateful for what we have?
I feel that if we are happy we have better health.
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)
And according to a study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examined the link between happiness and a number of health factors in 200 Caucasian adults, age 45-59 years, all of whom worked for the government in London, England. The study assessed each participant on a work day and weekend day, measuring them at work and play for a number of criteria including blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormone (cortisol) levels. Participants were measured under normal conditions and after a mental stress test. Under each condition participants ranked their happiness on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest). There were no differences in happiness between people who were married or single, male or female or of varying socioeconomic status; however the happiest participants had the best results across the board for the health markers. I.e. happier people had lower heart rates, and an average of 32% lower levels of cortisol which can have a direct effect on other elements such as blood sugar.
Another study exposed subjects to the cold virus and found that happy people were less likely to get sick, and if they did contract the virus, displayed fewer symptoms. (Source: Carnegie Mellon University). Happy people are less likely to have surges of cortisol, which decreases immunity and makes you more likely to get sick.
“And yet there is mounting evidence that happiness might be at least as powerful a predictor, if not a more powerful predictor than some of the other lifestyle factors that we talk about in terms of cigarette smoking, diet, physical activity and those kind of things.”
(Dr. D. Cox)
So it does seem that happiness is very important to our positive health.
Just a thought, Wendy