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Want Happiness? Try These Health Tips
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Our Services > Wellness > Health Tips > Want Happiness? Try These Health Tips

Happiness

Want Happiness? Try These Health Tips

It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and lose sight of what makes you happy. Really happy. But making sure your happiness meter is giving optimal readings can provide many health benefits.

Happy people have younger hearts, recover more quickly from surgery, cope better with pain, have lower blood pressure, and have longer life expectancy than unhappy people.

Studies also suggest that happy people may have stronger immune systems—they're less likely to get colds and flu viruses. And when they do, their symptoms tend to be mild.

Not surprisingly, happy people are better at looking after their health, too. When people's happiness levels improve, so do their health behaviors. They exercise more, wear sunscreen, and go for regular checkups.

Of course everyone wants to be happy, and the benefits are clearly plentiful. But the fact is that people aren't always great at predicting what will make them happy. If it's long-term happiness you're after, you may need to learn a few new tricks.

Health and Happiness

Studies show that a person's health is one of the strongest predictors of happiness. Be your healthiest and happiest by eating a balanced diet with lots of fruit and veggies, keeping stress levels to a minimum, getting regular checkups, wearing sunscreen, laughing often, moderating alcohol intake, getting plenty of exercise, and not smoking.

Exercise not only helps keep you healthy but also keeps you happy. In general, increasing the amount of physical activity in your life increases well-being, whether it's yoga, weight training, or daily walks around the neighborhood. One study of nearly 7,000 men and women revealed that walking, jogging, or running between 11 and 19 miles per week was optimal for improving emotional well-being. But don't overdo it or underdo it. Moderate exercise offers the biggest boost in happiness.

And if you think you may be living with a mood disorder, get it treated. Appropriate treatment can help reduce your symptoms, increase your sense of well-being, and get you back on track to a happy life.

Social Side Up

Developing your social side is crucial for well-being. Studies show that people who are socially active, who are compassionate, and who are emotionally generous have higher levels of happiness and live longer than people who lead a more solitary life.

Research also shows that people who have strong interpersonal skills rank in the highest levels of happiness, and those who are socially isolated have substantially lower levels of well-being.

Social skills are just one part of this happiness factor, though. People who maintain good personal relationships also fare better than people who are socially inactive. Open, trusting, intimate relationships are essential building blocks for a happy life.

And it isn't only receiving support that makes us happy; it's being able to give support to others as well.

3 More Ways to Get Happy

1. Forget the Joneses

Social comparison is a natural part of human behavior, and it can be a healthy source of both motivation and affirmation. But taken to the extreme, social comparison can become an unhealthy, unhappy competition. Try not to compare your successes to others. Happiness researchers identify this as a key detractor to life satisfaction.

It can be especially harmful if you are making material comparisons. Some studies show that placing too much importance on material wealth can make people very unhappy.

Just as people adapt to bad situations, they also adapt to good ones. With each new pay raise or purchase, aspirations also increase. People get used to the good life. Once the initial thrill of extra income and the latest luxuries wears off, they want more. Another raise, a faster car, a bigger house.

It becomes a never-ending cycle that leaves people feeling perpetually unsatisfied.

2. Share Your Skills

Giving back to the community and helping others is linked to greater levels of happiness, particularly for people who are retired or not employed. Volunteering in your community can provide a valuable social interaction, increase your sense of purpose, and, yes, make you happier.

3. Do Your Happiness Homework

Take note of what's good in your life. Literally. Studies show that people who spend a few minutes every evening writing down what went well each day show a significant increase in well-being.

No More Mystery

There is no mysterious magical formula that you have to follow exactly in order to achieve happiness. Happiness is a personal journey of self-discovery. What makes you happy is not necessarily the same as what makes your friend, your partner, or your son or daughter happy.

Experimenting with key happiness factors will help you find the combination that works for you. Just be sure to take stock now and then to see how your emotional health is doing. It's worth your time and attention.