Is happiness a missing component in your journey to health? You try so hard to do everything right . You eat a healthy diet, exercise, take your supplements, and get enough sleep – but you’re still not where you want to be in regard to your health. Is there a correlation between happiness and health?
Just for a moment, sit quietly and ask yourself this question: “Am I happy?” Be brutally honest. If the answer is “not really,” this could be your missing puzzle piece, and your wakeup call to initiate the changes in your life that are impeding your happiness.
What Is Happiness?
Children have it right. It takes so little to please them. Small things bring them joy, and they don’t dwell on unhappy events. They can be easily distracted, and have the ability to live in the moment – adults, not so much! We wallow in our misery and disappointments while holding grudges and overthinking things.
We are programmed to believe that happiness comes from the seemingly good life – bigger houses, fancier cars, fame, and an endless supply of money. Many people spend a good portion of their lives chasing after this purported dream.
Yes, it’s true that all those things are nice, but you don’t have to look very far to see that they fall short in bringing lasting happiness. News stories are full of tales of celebrity-lives gone wrong, and testifies to the fact, that these things alone, do not bring enduring happiness.
And they can even generate a false sense of self-worth. They also don’t foster inner peace, connection, and fulfillment, which is what most people are truly craving. It’s true that they can distract for a while, maybe even for years, but in the end, they will not truly satisfy or fulfill.
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Pathways To Happiness
1. Cultivate healthy relationships that provide joy, unconditional support, meaningful experiences and connection.
2. Engage in meaningful work that ignites your passion, serves others, and brings a sense of fulfillment.
3. Find meaning in something bigger than yourself by developing a rich spiritual life that deepens your faith.
Happiness is really pretty simple, isn’t it? How easy it is to lose sight of what matters most in this fast-paced world where so much focus is placed on success, productivity, and the never-ending quest for more…
How Happiness Promotes Health
Happiness isn’t just correlated with physical health. It affects mental, emotional and spiritual health too – all vital components to overall good health. Studies have shown that those with satisfying, nurturing relationships in midlife were the healthiest as they progressed into their latter years.
It has long been documented that centenarians who have rich social lives, and are active members of their communities live longer with better brain and immune function. Sociality also correlates with increased movement, which in itself, provides many health benefits. Happiness leads to greater self-awareness, and increased motivation to make healthy choices.
What differences would we notice if we focused more on meaningful work, hobbies that bring joy and pleasure, and connections that foster self esteem and self-worth – rather than notoriety, success, material possessions, and productivity. Relationships, experiences, service and spirituality are what foster meaning in our lives.
Happiness And Health
Below are some health markers that correspond with happiness:
- Reduced stress levels (this alone has enormous repercussions in terms of health)
- Better heart health and lower blood pressure
- Decreased levels of anxiety and depression
- Better immune function
- Extended life span and healthier aging
- A healthier outlook and attitude
- More favorable prognoses during a health event
- Better mental and emotional health
- Increased well-being
Relationships Are Key
Healthy relationships are the secret sauce to increased health and longevity. We innately crave attachment with others – it’s wired in us. It has been studied and proven that loneliness and isolation can be deadly.
Social connections and nurturing relationships, filled with trust, empathy, and affection, are vital for a sense of well-being. And this includes, not only intimate relationships, but healthy social connections in all its many forms. Meeting new people and forming friendships is essential in every decade of life.
Connection, communication, and people in our lives that have our backs are all great antidotes against anxiety, depression, and, yes, unhappiness. Having the unconditional support and care that others can provide enables us to endure life’s many challenges and difficulties. Experiences and memories that we create with others lead to lasting joy and happiness.
Sharing your life with others and creating lasting connections is what truly matters in life. Find people that nourish you emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, and stick with them through all of life’s vicissitudes. Meaningful work that brings with it a sense of excitement and fulfillment is also vitally important for happiness.
We all possess an innate desire to serve others, and make this planet a better place. Count yourself blessed if your life’s work fulfills this desire. Cultivate a deep inner life, one that nourishes your faith in something bigger than yourself. Invest in a spiritual practice, which will promote a healthy perspective, and make you more likely to focus on things that really matter.
Nourish you passions and make time for them daily. Setting and meeting goals related to what you value most brings immense satisfaction. Fill your life with people who sincerely care about you. Engage in activities that fuel your passions. Do this, and you’ll be on the fast track to happiness. Life is too short to be stuck in drudgery. Create a life of meaning. Start today…
How happy are you? Could this be the missing link in your health equation? Let me know in the comments:)
Disclaimer: This article is strictly for informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice.