Wellness

How Happiness Impacts Health

how happiness impacts health

Main Article Content

On Cloud Nine: A State of Perfect Happiness

Happiness is good. It provides us with a sense of optimism, a “take on the world” attitude and a positivity that can be infectious. According to a recent study, everyone attempts to find happiness in three ways: Doing good for others; doing things you’re good at; and doing things that are good for you. Moreover, those who are the most optimistic, are the happiest overall.

And the research doesn’t stop there: happiness is closely tied to being happy with your job, your closest relationships and taking care of yourself physically and emotionally.

Effects on Your Health

For most people, happiness is a sense of purpose and well-being. This positive attitude translates to a variety of effects on a person’s health both physically and mentally, including:

  • Opening a person’s mind to positivity: Optimism and vitality are critical to a person’s well-being.
  • Improving a person’s problem-solving ability: Positive-minded individuals believe they “can” and want to achieve their goals.
  • Building physical, intellectual and social resources: This allows people to learn better because they seek other positive-minded people.
  • Protecting your health: Happiness lowers your risk for cardiovascular disease, lowers your blood pressure, enables better sleep, improves your diet, allows you to maintain a normal body weight through regular exercise and reduces stress.

Ways to Improve Your Well-Being

According to some research, well-being can be learned by practicing the following:

  • Resilience, a function of the brain, resides in the ability to bounce back from adversity.
  • Positive outlook lies in a person’s ability to see the positive, both in people and in experiences.
  • Attention, or a lack of, can affect a person’s well-being. Being more attentive and using better listening skills can make a person more focused and positive.
  • Generosity equals a sense of well-being. Acts of kindness make others and yourself happy.

Your own well-being shouldn’t be mysterious. Know what works for you and what doesn’t, and remove the barriers that are preventing your happiness. Be content with your life choices. Your health and well-being are dependent on it.

Interested in hearing more from Northwestern Medicine? Sign up for the Healthy Tips E‑Newsletter for everything from health and wellness ideas to patient breakthroughs to academic and medical advancements.