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Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Happy May Wishes and How Being Happy May Make You Healthier

image from here

Happy May Wishes to all of our readers.
How Being Happy Makes You Healthier
All words by Daisy Coyle, RD

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”
"The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle said these words more than 2,000 years ago, and they still ring true today.
Happiness is a broad term that describes the experience of positive emotions, such as joy, contentment and satisfaction.
Emerging research shows that being happier doesn’t just make you feel better — it actually brings a host of potential health benefits.

This article explores the ways in which being happy may make you healthier.


Promotes a Healthy Lifestyle 
Being happy promotes a range of lifestyle habits that are important for overall health. Happy people tend to eat healthier diets, with higher intakes of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. A study of more than 7,000 adults found that those with a positive well-being were 47% more likely to consume fresh fruits and vegetables than their less positive counterparts. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables have consistently been associated with a range of health benefits, including lower risks of diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
Summary: Being happy may help promote a healthy lifestyle. Studies show that happier people are more likely to eat healthier diets and engage in physical activity. 

Appears to Boost the Immune System
A healthy immune system is important for overall health. Research has shown that being happier may help keep your immune system strong. This may help reduce your risk of developing colds and chest infections. One study in over 300 healthy people looked at the risk of developing a cold after individuals were given a common cold virus via nasal drops. The least happy people were almost three times as likely to develop the common cold compared to their happier counterparts.
Summary: Being happy may help keep your immune system strong, which might help you fight off the common cold and chest infections. 

Helps Combat Stress
Being happy may help reduce stress levels. Normally, excess stress causes an increase in levels of cortisol, a hormone that contributes to many of the harmful effects of stress, including disturbed sleep, weight gain, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. A number of studies demonstrate that cortisol levels tend to be lower when people are happier. 
Summary: Stress increases levels of the hormone cortisol, which can cause weight gain, disturbed sleep and high blood pressure. Happy people tend to produce lower levels of cortisol in response to stressful situations. 

May Protect Your Heart
Happiness may protect the heart by reducing blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease. A study of over 6,500 people over the age of 65 found that positive well-being was linked to a 9% lower risk of high blood pressure. Happiness may also reduce the risk of heart disease, the biggest cause of death worldwide. A number of studies have shown that being happy has been associated with a 13–26% lower risk of heart disease. One long-term of 1,500 adults found that happiness helped protect against heart disease.
Summary: Being happier can help lower blood pressure, which may decrease the risk of heart disease. However, more research is required. 

May Lengthen Your Life Expectancy
Being happy may help you live longer. A long-term study published in 2015 looked at the effect of happiness on survival rates in 32,000 people. The risk of death over the 30-year study period was 14% higher in unhappy individuals compared to their happier counterparts. 
Summary: Happier people live longer. This may be because they engage in more health-promoting behaviours, such as exercise. 

May Help Reduce Pain
Arthritis is a common condition that involves inflammation and degeneration of the joints. It causes painful and stiff joints, and generally worsens with age. A number of studies have found that higher positive well-being may reduce the pain and stiffness associated with the condition. Being happy may also improve physical functioning in people with arthritis. One study in over 1,000 people with painful arthritis of the knee found that happier individuals walked an extra 711 steps each day — 8.5% more than their less happy counterparts. Happiness may also help reduce pain in other conditions. A study in nearly 1,000 people recovering from stroke found that the happiest individuals had 13% lower pain ratings after three months of leaving the hospital.
Summary: Being happy may reduce the perception of pain. It appears to be particularly effective in chronic pain conditions such as arthritis. 

Other Ways Being Happy May Make You Healthier
A small number of studies have linked happiness to other health benefits. While these early findings are promising, they need to be backed up by further research to confirm the associations.
May reduce frailty: Frailty is a condition characterized by a lack of strength and balance. A study in 1,500 elderly adults found that the happiest individuals had a 3% lower risk of frailty over the 7-year study period.
May protect against stroke: A stroke occurs when there is a disturbance in blood flow to the brain. A study in older adults found that positive well-being lowered the risk of stroke by 26%.
Summary: Being happy may have some other potential benefits, including reducing the risk of frailty and stroke. However, further research is required to confirm this.

Ways to Increase Your Happiness
Being happy doesn’t just make you feel better — it’s also incredibly beneficial for your health.
Here are six scientifically proven ways to become happier.
Express gratitude: You can increase your happiness by focusing on the things you are grateful for. One way to practice gratitude is to write down three things you are grateful for at the end of each day.
Get active: Aerobic exercise, also known as cardio, is the most effective type of exercise for increasing happiness. Walking or playing tennis won’t just be good for your physical health, it’ll help boost your mood too.
Get a good night’s rest: Lack of sleep can have a negative effect on your happiness. If you struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep, then check out these tips for getting a better night’s sleep.
Spend time outside: Head outside for a walk in the park, or get your hands dirty in the garden. It takes as little as five minutes of outdoor exercise to significantly improve your mood.
Meditate: Regular meditation can increase happiness and also provide a host of other benefits, including reducing stress and improving sleep.
Eat a healthier diet: Studies show that the more fruits and vegetables you eat, the happier you will be. What’s more, eating more fruits and vegetables will also improve your health in the long-term.
Summary: There are a number of ways to increase your happiness. Getting active, expressing gratitude and eating fruits and vegetables are all great ways to help improve your mood. 

The Bottom Line
Scientific evidence suggests that being happy may have major benefits for your health. For starters, being happy promotes a healthy lifestyle. It may also help combat stress, boost your immune system, protect your heart and reduce pain. What’s more, it may even increase your life expectancy. While further research is required to understand how these effects work, there’s no reason you can’t start prioritizing your happiness now. Focusing on the things that make you happy will not only improve your life — it may help extend it too."

Daisy's full article with all information / research links is here

'They say laughter is the best medicine'

We bring a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas to this blog, we hope something for everyone to read and enjoy. Please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter. 

All the best Jan

32 comments:

My name is Erika. said...

This is really fascinating Jan. And I believe it. I think I am a happy lady and pretty healthy if I may say. Hope you are too. Hugs-Erika

Ygraine said...

How can I ever thank you enough for this fantastic post?!
It is exactly what I (and I suspect many many other people) needed to read today.
Speaking for myself, I awoke this morning feeling rather "down" and burdened by health and pain issues...and you have given me hope and positivity!😊😊
Oh thank you so, so much!! xxx

Tom said...

...a new month, a new start.

Valerie-Jael said...

Good food and lots of fresh air and exercise do wonders. Valerie

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I come out of the school of holistic beliefs. If your mind is strong, so will your health be and vise versa. This article expresses what I've been teaching others since I got my degree. If you surround yourself with a support system, great friends (whether they are online, or in person), and you eat healthy, you will live longer, reduce your stress, reduce a lot of pain, enjoy life more, and in turn, be a very happy person. Thanks for sharing this study, Jan.

CJ Kennedy said...

Every day is a new beginning

Miss Val's Creations said...

It is so beneficial to be happy! We all need to maintain some control in our lives to keep the happiness levels where they need to be.

Sandi said...

It is really a good thing... :)

Christine said...

I enjoyed this article, happiness tips that everyone can do.

natalia20041989 said...

Great article, I think happiness is akways near us,we should just learn how to see it☺☺

Jan/JFM said...

I totally agree but it isn't always easy to keep a positive attitude when life keeps throwing adversity at you from all sides.

Hugs, Jan

Jo said...

I fully believe that being happy and positive can only be healthy. A great post!

ReHiTu said...

I am trying to be happy always!

happyone said...

Being thankful and content and knowing God cares certainly gives me joy no matter what the circumstances. :)

Sue said...

I try to stay happy - chocolate always helps ;-) xx

Elephant's Child said...

No arguments. Just the same sometimes happiness is out of our power.

Mary Kirkland said...

Happy May to you too.

William Kendall said...

Happy May Day!

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

What a great post!! And so true!! Being happy does give you a better life!! Thanks so much for your well wishes!! Surgery went well and I am home now!!!
Hugs,
Debbie

Chris Lally said...

Great article, Jan! Thank you!!

Pam said...

Great info. Thanks. Happiness is an amazing thing, overall I am a happy person, well at least I am getting back to that again.

Lady Caer Morganna said...

Wonderful post! I love it! Happy May to you, Jan!!

Carol Blackburn said...

Thank you! I couldn't agree more. Have an awesome May.

Martha said...

Lots of great information! Happy May!

Angie said...

Jan - great article. I find that some of these tactics are circular - being happy makes me want to go outside which makes me happier which makes me want to go outside again!

peppylady (Dora) said...

I have to wonder and I do a lot...It seem some people are happier then others I wonder if it possible there born with a happy dna print.
Coffee is on

Margaret-whiteangel said...

Good reading.
To be happy is so wonderful, can make others around you smile :)

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Happiness Happiness, the greatest gift that I possess
I thank the Lord that I've been blessed
With more than my share of happiness. (Ken Dodd)

God bless.

Iris Flavia said...

Have you read the book "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin? It helped me a lot (this is no advertisement!).

roughterrain crane said...

Happy May to you, too.

Lowcarb team member said...

Iris Flavia said...
Have you read the book "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin? It helped me a lot (this is no advertisement!).

Hello Iris,
Many thanks for your comment.
No I haven't seen this book … many thanks for the recommendation.

All the best Jan

Jeanie said...

May wishes to you as well, Jan. Thanks for the wonderful article which is really most interesting. And thanks, too, for the happiness you bring me with your wonderful comments over at Gypsy. I have to say that last one put a mega-smile on my face!