How To Be Healthy Happy


Want to feel better and improve your health?

Start by focusing on the things that bring you happiness.

Scientific evidence suggests that positive emotions can help make life longer and healthier.

Good health is a major predictor of happiness.

But fleeting positive emotions aren't enough. Lowering your stress levels over a period of years with a positive outlook and relaxation techniques could reduce your risk of health problems.

Pathways to happiness

In a positive psychology research conducted in University of Pennsylvania, psychologist chose three pathways to examine:

Feeling good:

Seeking pleasurable emotions and sensations, from the hedonistic model of happiness put forth by Epicurus, which focused on reaching happiness by maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. 

Engaging fully: 

Pursuing activities that engage you fully, researchers explored people’s satisfaction in their everyday activities, finding that people report the greatest satisfaction when they are totally immersed in and concentrating on what they are doing. 

Doing good:

Searching for meaning outside yourself, tracing back to Aristotle’s notion of eudemonia, which emphasized knowing your true self and acting in accordance with your virtues.

Through focus groups and testing hundreds of volunteers, researchers found that each of these pathways individually contributes to life satisfaction.

Things that won’t make you happy

People tend to be poor judges of what will make them happy. Here are some widely held myths about what will bring happiness:

Money and material things:

The question of whether money can buy happiness has, for more than 30 years, been addressed by the “Easterlin paradox,” a concept developed by economist Richard Easterlin.

The research showed that people in poor countries are happier when their basic necessities are covered. But any money beyond that doesn't make much difference in happiness level.

This idea has been challenged periodically, as in 2008 when two University of Pennsylvania researchers analyzed Gallup poll data from around the world. They showed, in contrast to Easterlin’s work, that people in wealthier countries are happier in general.

The two studies were not directly comparable in method, however Easterlin points out that the new study may be flawed by cultural bias, as people from different countries may have different ways of answering questions about wealth and happiness.

Youth:

Being young and physically attractive has little or no bearing on happiness. In a study published by in the Journal of Economic Psychology in 2006, not only did being young fail to contribute to happiness, but adults grew steadily happier as they moved into and through middle age. After that, happiness levels began to decline slowly as health problems and other life problems emerged.

Children:

Children can be a tremendous source of joy and fulfillment, but their day-to-day care is quite demanding and can increase stress, financial pressures, and marital strife.

When ranking their happiness during daily activities, mothers report being more happy eating, exercising, shopping, napping, or watching TV than when spending time with their children.


In several studies, marital satisfaction declines after the first child is born and only recovers after the last child leaves home. 

Personal relationships of all types are important, however. In studies, being married, having more friends, and having sexual intercourse more often are all moderately or strongly associated with happiness.

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