A Serious Series About Happiness
Exploring the Determinants, Benefits, Measurements, Myths and Formulas for a Happy Life
In Part 1 of "A Serious Series About Happiness" I said that happiness means experiencing positive emotion like joy, love, pride, hope, contentment, interest, compassion, fulfilment, gratitude, inspiration or awe and having a sense of satisfaction about your life and how you are progressing towards your life goals. Part 2 spoke about the three primary factors affecting your happiness and how we can take control of up to 40% of what can make us happy.
In part 3 I will explore the benefits of happiness and why being happy is good for your mental and physical health.
PART 3: WHY BOTHER WITH HAPPINESS?
We've all heard that anxiety, stress and other negative emotions like anger, jealousy and hatred are bad for us - bad for our mental and physical health.
Negative emotions result in loss of sleep, aches and pains in the body . Not only this experiencing negative emotions can also zap your energy, cause high blood pressure and digestive disorders.
Our emotional responses to the stresses of daily life can predict our long-term health. Most days we react to these negative emotions and stresses with little consideration to our longer-term health when in actual fact what we need to do - for the sake of our health - is respond with optimism!
Respond, not react.
Developing a more positive outlook on life will increase our ability to respond to negative situations with greater confidence, resilience and mindfulness.
Whilst is it clear we should not underestimate the power of our negative thoughts we should also never underestimate the power of positive thinking on our mental and physical health.
We're not just talking about maintaining some kind of health equilibrium though! Happiness actually promotes your health and protects it too! (If happiness is an emotion then optimism or positivity is a state of mind.)
Positive emotions have two important effects
- They broaden our perspective of the world (thus inspiring more creativity, wonder, and options)
- The build up over time, creating lasting emotional resilience and flourishing
The physical and emotional benefits of positivity include
- Faster recovery from cardiovascular stress
- Better sleep
- Fewer colds
- Greater sense of overall happiness.
- Improve immune system
- Prevent chronic disease
- Receive more social support
- Less stressed and less depressed
The good news is not only that positive emotions—such as gratitude, awe, love, interest, serenity, and feeling connected to others—have a direct impact on health and wellbeing, but that we can develop them ourselves with practice.
However, life is not perfect and there will always be negative elements.
According to scientists there is a ratio we can think of to help us enjoy life with the negative stuff in it. This research suggests that for every negative experience or emotion there has to be 5 times as many positive experiences.
From what we have in Part 2 of this series we now understand how we can create happiness and what strategies are better than others.
For those of use with a stronger negativity bias these positive emotions can literally reverse the physical effects of negativity and build up psychological resources that contribute to a flourishing life.
What's the moral of the story? Not only does happiness make us feel good, it is good for us too :-)
Is it time for you to start working on your happiness? If you are yearning to become more positive, happier and fulfilled in life then why not contact me now so we can arrange a Lifestyle Design Consultation call and I can show you how to create a life that you don't need to take a holiday from.