Proven Happiness Hacks…Just in time for the Holidays!

It’s easy to regard happiness as something that happens to you, but being happy is a choice that you can actively seek out and attain. You needn’t sit by and wait for happiness to come to you; you can go out and grab it virtually whenever you want.

What types of choices lead to happiness? Many of them involve leading a healthy lifestyle, because a healthy body goes hand-in-hand with a healthy mind.  Happy people tend to eat healthier, exercise more, and get better sleep than those who are stressed out or depressed — all habits associated with health.  On the other hand, when you feel happy, you’re more likely to actively seek out and follow a healthier lifestyle. Regardless of which comes first, happiness or a healthy lifestyle, striving to be happy can lead to physical changes along with emotional ones.

Lower Blood Pressure, Better Immune Function and Improved Mobility

A review of more than 200 studies found that positive psychological well-being is linked with a lower risk of heart disease as well as lower blood pressure, normal body weight and healthier blood fat profiles.  Further, among those 60 and over, feelings of happiness and enjoyment were associated with improved mobility and a lower risk of developing a disability over an 8-year period.

Past research has found that positive emotions — including being happy, lively and calm — appear to play a role in immune function. One study found that when happy people are exposed to cold and flu viruses, they’re less likely to get sick and, if they do, exhibit fewer symptoms.  The association held true regardless of the participants’ levels of self-esteem, purpose, extroversion, age, education, body mass or pre-study immunity to the virus, leading the lead researcher to say:

“We need to take more seriously the possibility that positive emotional style is a major player in disease risk.”

Stay tuned next week as we dive into the 23 Happiness Hacks!!