6 Proven Health Benefits of Happiness
1. Improved Heart Health
Studies have linked happiness with improved heart health and lower risk of heart disease by 13-26%
2. Ability to Combat Stress More Effectively
Excess stress causes higher levels of cortisol – the stress hormone – which can lead to a number of health conditions. Individuals who are happier have consistently lower cortisol levels in their blood.
3. A Stronger Immune System
Some research has indicated that being happier can support a strong immune system, leading to greater health all round, and the ability to fight infections or disease more effectively.
4. Overall Healthier Lifestyle
Happiness has also been linked to several positive and highly beneficial health habits, that promote a greater sense of wellbeing. This includes eating a healthier diet, engaging in more physical activity, and overcome poor sleeping habits.
5. Can Help Reduce Pain
Individuals who are happier, have a better perspective and are able to accept new thoughts easily, which can lead to a lower experience of pain especially connected to chronic conditions.
6. Increased Life Longevity
One of the most interesting finds from the research for health benefits of happiness is its connection with life longevity. Researchers believe that because of the impact happiness has on all of the above health benefits, it can ultimately help you live a longer life.
The Benefits of Happiness at Work
Until relatively recently, work and happiness weren’t really connected, but research is starting to show that there is a range of benefits for happy employees – for both the individual and the organization. Some of the benefits of happiness at work include:
1. Better Decision Making & Creative Problem Solving
Happiness at work has a range of benefits for how our brains work and think. When we’re happier, we tend not to focus on the negatives or stressors as much, allowing more room to think about how to positively get on with challenges.
2. Improved Individual and Team Productivity
In a study for the University of Warwick found that happier employees tended to be 12% more productive, whereas unhappy employees were up to 10% less productive.
3. Better Customer Service Satisfaction
Happier employees were more engaged, which resulted in improved customer relationships, and a 20% increase in sales. When we feel happy, we’re more likely to express ourselves positively and want to help those around us.
4. It Might Help You Earn More
A study found that feelings in life satisfaction were linked to higher salaries, however, this wasn’t consistent, and varied between genders. It’s also difficult to determine whether having a higher salary led to greater life satisfaction due to having fewer financial stressors.
5 Things You Can Do to Realize These Benefits in Your Life
Trying to feel happier in life might seem like a mammoth task to take on, but it doesn’t have to be. A few simple practices each day have been proven to help you realize and begin to reap the benefits of happiness:
1. Practice Gratitude
It’s easy to complain when things go wrong or you get stuck in the rut of thinking ‘why has this happened to me’ when you have a bad day, but practicing gratitude can help tackle that and improve feelings of happiness. Simply writing down three things you feel grateful for before bed can work wonders on your mindset.
2. Incorporate Some Movement
Exercise releases endorphins, which have a direct impact on our mood – in a good way! Adding in some aerobic exercise is proven to be effective in increasing feelings of happiness. This doesn’t have to be hitting the gym, it could be as simple as putting on your favorite music and dancing in the living room.
3. Get Back in Touch with Nature
Combine your aerobic exercise with nature and you’ll be onto something good. Spending time outdoors has been proven to aid our mood. A good walk or run in a local park or woods or some gardening can spark some wonderful benefits.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Incorporating mindfulness can help you create better awareness for your everyday feelings, and let go of negative experiences, allowing for more room to appreciate positive experiences and emotions.
5. Spend Time with Loved Ones
Socializing with friends and loved ones have many health benefits, including feelings of well-being and happiness. Making time for coffee with friends, or quality time with family members is a great way to realize the benefits of happiness.
A Take Home Message
Research shows that feeling happier is beneficial for our health, but not if forcing yourself to be happy or seek out happiness ends up causing you more stress. Take your time and enjoy the process of identifying areas of life where you could potentially let some more happiness in.