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Why Happiness Is The Key To Good Health

by Ben Ong May 11, 2018

You may have heard the saying that ‘Happiness is the Key to Good Health’ and while the more cynical of us might have rolled our eyes and shrugged our shoulders…it turns out this is in fact very true.

A study by Harvard researchers revealed that being happy really can improve your overall health! So, for those of you with a cheerful disposition, keep going and those with a bleak outlook, start smiling!

The Study

The study was conducted over a period of 80 years and recorded the health of 268 participants in 1938. It has been following them ever since (that’s quite a while). In fact presently only 19 of the participants remain today and they are all in their nineties.  The researchers conducted an in-depth study, analysing human development over a lifetime and their findings were shocking.

They concluded that maintaining good relationships throughout a lifetime is what truly makes people happy. So while you might not be rich in terms of money and status, being rich in friendship is far more beneficial in the long run. Participants who did not have strong relationships were often isolated, which lead to a decline in their mental and physical health.

Study director Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School commented, “The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health. Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation.”

Okay so it’s easy enough to say you are happy… but when you’re having a bad day, putting happiness into practice can be difficult. 

If you need a happiness boost, then check out our top 5 tips.

5 Ways To Keep Happy and Healthy

1) Exercise

happiness key to good health
It is commonly acknowledged that exercise is good for your physical health, but what about your mental health?

Countless studies have found that exercising can improve your mood and even help to battle depression. When we exercise endorphins are released in the brain.

As a result, feelings of pain and discomfort are reduced and we can experience feelings of euphoria.

2) Sleep

happiness key to good health
For many people, their duvet is undoubtedly their best friend. In a fast-paced society, finding time for sleep and down time can be difficult and the little sleep we do get is often cut short by an alarm.

However, getting an optimal amount of sleep is not only important for your health but also for your happiness. A survey of more than 7,000 U.S. adults revealed that people who reported getting more sleep had a higher overall well-being than those who said they got less sleep.

Good news for those in need of an extra lie in!

3) Help Others 

happiness key to good health
Yes, helping other will not only make other people happy but will improve your own well-being. Doing a good deed can leave you feeling good about yourself and result in an optimistic outlook on life.

There is a Chinese proverb ‘’If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody” and there is much evidence to back this up. According to a study by United Health Group, 78 percent of people who volunteered over a 12-month period said they felt that their charitable activities lowered their stress.

They were also more calm and peaceful than people who didn’t participate in volunteer work. Therefore, giving really does reap its own rewards.

4) Spend Time With Family and Friends

happiness key to good health
As revealed by the study discussed above, spending time with family and friends and forming long term relationships, really does help keep you happy and healthy.

Several studies have found that time spent with friends and family makes a big difference to how happy we feel. At times it can be easy to neglect friendships and for families to become distant, but by taking the time and making the effort, you will ultimately be a happier person.

5) Meditate

happiness key to good health
Practicing meditation can bring forth a range of health benefits. It can improve focus and clarity as well as being an effective way to de-stress.

Studies have also shown that it can improve your happiness. A study that reviewed the brain scans of 16 people before and after an eight-week course of meditation, found that parts of the brain associated with compassion and self-awareness grew, while parts associated with stress shrank.

Remember, no matter how bad things may seem there is always a reason for you to be happy.

Though sometimes it might be hard to do so, thinking positively will not only improve your mental well-being but also your overall health!