The Health and Happiness Connection
Scientific evidence suggests that sustained positive emotions and satisfaction with one’s life are linked to an increased life-expectancy and protection against chronic pain and disease. Here are 10 ways you and your loved ones may increase happiness, life satisfaction, and overall health.
- Attend church: Two recent studies (PLOS One 2017 and JAMA Internal Medicine 2016) have found an increase in life-expectancy and reduction in the body’s stress responses among regular church-goers.
- Limit screen time (particularly in children/teens due to still developing brains): Teenagers who reported more “on-screen” time were, on average, less happy. You don’t have to stop using smart- phones but moderation is key (highest well-being is reported among teens who spent some time on digital media but no more than 1 hour a day).
- Get active: Aerobic (cardio) exercise is the most effective type of exercise for increasing happiness. Some cardio activities you may choose: play tennis or go for a brisk walk.
- Spend time outside: Head outside for a walk in the park, or get your hands dirty in the garden. It takes as little as five minutes of outdoor exercise to significantly improve your mood.
- Express gratitude: You can increase your happiness by focusing on the things you are grateful for. One way to practice gratitude is to write down three things you are grateful for at the end of each day.
- Get a good night’s rest.
- Meditate: Regular meditation can increase happiness and also provide a host of other benefits, including reducing stress and improving sleep.
- Eat a healthier diet: Studies show that the more fruits and vegetables you eat, the happier you will be.
- Get help when you need it: A trained counselor can give you practical advice on managing stress, melancholy, and family challenges among other things. Find counselors in your area who meet your specifications at www.psychologytoday.com.
Trust in our Lord Jesus Christ and be filled with the joy and peace He provides.
1. Coyle, Daisy. (2017, August 23) How Being Happy Makes you Healthier. Healthline (online).
2. Ducharme, Jaime. (2018, February 15) You Asked: Do Religious People Live Longer? Time (online).
3. Heid, Markham. (2018) You Asked: Is Social Media Making Me Miserable? TIME Guide to Hap- piness (online).
4. Sandoiu, Ana. (2018, January 23) Hapiness may lie in one hour of 1 hour of screen time daily. Medi- cal News Today (online).
—submitted by Jill Peters, Health Ministry