Benefits of Being Happy

Top 10 Benefits of Being Happy

According to Gallup’s 2021 Global Emotions Report, people worldwide are sadder and more stressed than in the past 16 years.

This makes sense. The world has become increasingly chaotic, and it can be hard to think about the good things in life.

Being happy is now more critical than ever. But with everything happening around you, you may wonder, “Why should I be happy when there are so many things to worry about?”

Well, great things come from having positive well-being!

Let’s discuss the benefits of being happy. You’re sure to pick up on some nuggets of wisdom.

Why Is It Important to Be Happy?

Happiness is the emotion that drives the good times. It’s also the emotion that helps us survive hard times.

A happy person is more likely to have a positive outlook on life. This, in turn, allows them to take on whatever comes their way with grace.

two women enjoying lunch

Happiness is a habit; it’s not a given. You must be happy if you want to live your life to its fullest potential. This means that you need to work on your happiness every day!

Should You Be Happy All the Time?

No. It’s also not realistic to never feel sad. Sadness is natural.

There are benefits to allowing yourself the space to feel your negative emotions. Experiencing sadness or pain can help you understand what’s important to you and how to move on. Sadness can also spur personal growth.

It’s important to recognize and accept your emotions rather than repressing them. That way, you can better understand yourself and your needs.

That said, it is important to work on your happiness. The benefits of happiness are too great to ignore!

Benefits of Being Happy

You deserve to be happy. That’s because happiness is essential to all areas of your life, including work, relationships, and physical and mental health.

Keep on reading to learn more about the benefits of being happy.

1. Happiness Leads to Better Physical Health

There are many proven health benefits of being happy.

Study after study has proven that happier people enjoy better physical health throughout their lifetime. Happy people spend less time in emergency rooms and hospitals, take medicine less frequently, have fewer health-related work absences, and are less likely to call their physicians.

Happiness is especially good for your heart health.

One study found that happy people have a lower risk of dying from coronary heart disease and stroke, even after taking into account other factors such as smoking, drinking, exercise, and body weight. The research also showed that happiness leads to healthier cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.

Being happy also reduces your risk of heart failure.

A 2014 study investigated the association between optimism and heart failure. After monitoring almost 7000 participants for four years, researchers found that high optimism levels reduced the risk of heart failure by 48%.

So, if you want to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and be physically healthy, work on your happiness!

female physician listening to a man's chest with a stethoscope

2. Happiness Boosts Your Immune System

There is a link between your overall health and your immune system’s ability to fight diseases and infections. A strong immune system is more likely to protect your health than a weakened one.

The best ways to boost your immune system include eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Research shows that embracing a happy lifestyle also strengthens your immune system.

One study found that your immune system’s activity fluctuates based on how you feel.

In the study, 81 healthy graduate students received a Hepatitis B vaccine. After five months, the results showed that happier students were nearly twice as likely to get a high antibody response to the vaccination.

In another study, researchers exposed 193 people to the common cold. Over the subsequent six days, the volunteers reported their symptoms and emotional state. The study concluded that volunteers who reported positive moods were 2.9 times less likely to get sick.

So, if you want to boost your immune system, start boosting your happiness!

3. Happiness Promotes a Healthier Lifestyle

It’s not just that happy people are more likely to enjoy better physical health; happiness also leads to healthier lifestyle choices.

Happy people are more likely to exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and get enough sleep. They are also less likely to smoke or abuse drugs.

One study of almost 10,000 adults found that happy people increased their physical activity and had a slower rate of decline in physical activity than those who were unhappy.

Another study showed that happy people are more likely to eat healthier foods like fresh fruits and vegetables.

The link between happiness and healthy lifestyle choices is not surprising. When you feel good, you are more likely to take care of yourself.

So, if you want to live healthily, focus on being happy.

woman preparing dinner

4. Happiness Helps You Feel Less Pain

Happiness doesn’t just make you healthier. It can also help you feel less pain.

A 2012 study explored the association between positive emotions and knee pain in over 1000 patients experiencing arthritis. The study found that respondents who reported being happier walked an extra 711 (or 8.5% more) steps daily.

In another study of almost 500 people with chronic pain, happier people reported lower pain levels and were less likely to say that their pain interfered with their lives.

Happiness also boosts endorphins, which are natural painkillers.

So, if you’re in pain, focus on the positive and find things that make you happy. Happiness may help reduce your pain and improve your quality of life.

5. Happiness May Protect Against Dementia

Dementia is a decline in cognitive function, leading to memory loss and other problems. It’s a serious health concern, especially for older adults.

A 2021 study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that the odds of cognitive impairment were higher for those with elevated depressive symptoms in early or late adulthood.

The researchers hypothesized that excess stress hormones damage the brain’s hippocampus, reducing the ability to make new memories. People with worse depression suffer from poorer cognition and faster decline.

So, if you want to keep your mind sharp as you age, ensure you are happy. It may help keep dementia at bay.

6. Happiness Helps You Live Longer

Happiness isn’t an elixir of immortality. But you’ll live longer if you lead a happier life.

smiling woman with her right hand raised to the sky while standing in a field of sunflowers

Considering the many health benefits of being happy, your life expectancy should increase if you live a happy life. There’s plenty of emerging research to support this as well!

The most interesting study of the impact of happiness on life expectancy involved the diaries of 180 nuns born before 1917.

The study revealed that nuns who experienced more positive emotions in their 20s tended to live longer.

The happiest nuns lived for, on average, seven years more than the least happy nuns. By age 85, only 34% of the unhappiest nuns were alive compared to 90% of the happiest nuns. Isn’t that incredible?

A recent study showed that happier people were 35% less likely to die than their unhappier counterparts over the subsequent five years.

So, if you want to live a longer life, do what it takes to be happy!

7. Happiness Increases Your Resilience

Happiness doesn’t just help you feel good. It also enables you to cope with stress and anxiety during difficult times.

People with a positive outlook on life are more resilient to stress than those who aren’t. They also cope better with anxiety and depression.

In one study, researchers exposed 65 students to academic stress. Before exposure to stress, the students described their feelings. Then, the researchers asked the students to answer a statistical question their professor would evaluate.

The researchers monitored each student’s heart rate and blood pressure during this process and found that the students who reported being happy at the start of the study recovered faster than the less happy students.

So, to build resilience, focus on cultivating happiness.

woman holding a cup while looking out into the woods

8. Happiness Increases Your Productivity and Success Rates

Society acknowledges that there’s a relationship between happiness and success.

However, the narrative has been distorted, so most people believe success will make them happy. It’s actually the other way around!

If you want to be successful, you must first be happy.

Happiness expert, Shawn Achor, explains this phenomenon as the “happiness advantage”: “When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive.”

He lists some notable statistics from his research: happiness raises sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and task accuracy by 19%.

It’s not just your productivity that benefits from happiness. Your success rates do too.

In their extensive research, Professors Sonja Lyubomirsky, Laura King, and Ed Diener found that happiness leads to success in all three primary domains of life: relationships, health, and work. Happy people are more likely to have fulfilling marriages and relationships, enjoy better health, and receive higher salaries.

So, to be successful, focus on being happy first. When you’re happy, you’ll be more productive and more likely to achieve your goals.

9. Happiness Results in Better Relationships and Marriages

Your relationship with those around you significantly influences your happiness levels. Similarly, your happiness levels have an impact on your relationships. It’s a cycle!

Those who benefit the most from this cycle are the happiest people.

Happy people have stronger romantic relationships, closer family ties, and larger friend groups. This robust support network is a leading reason for their happiness!

A study of 222 university students found that the top 10% of the happiest students had higher quality and better relationships. They had stronger romantic and social relationships.

a smiling couple reading a book together outside

Research also shows that marriage satisfaction is directly related to psychological well-being.

This study found that couples with the highest levels of marriage happiness had high levels of general life happiness.

So, a great way to cultivate relationships that lead to happiness is by being happy!

10. Happiness Makes You Kinder, More Generous, and Giving

The relationship between happiness and kindness is a loop. Happiness makes you kinder. And kindness makes you happier!

Scientific research proves you will promote long-lasting happiness in your life if you decide to act on this loop.

One such study involved 51 participants. Researchers asked half the participants to remember the last time they spent $20 or $100 on somebody else.

The other half were also asked to remember the last time they spent the same amount of money on themselves. The participants recorded their happiness levels.

The researchers then gave the participants some money and asked them to spend it on themselves or someone else.

The results showed that those who remembered buying a gift for someone else were happier than those who bought a gift for themselves.

And these happier individuals were more likely to spend the money on someone else.

So, join the virtuous circle of happiness and kindness! To help you be happy, here are some ways to be kind.

smiling woman holding a bouquet of flowers

Final Thoughts

There’s more to happiness than most people realize.

Happiness is critical in improving our physical and mental well-being, work productivity and success, and relationships. As a result, we enjoy greater life satisfaction.

Happiness, then, is not just a feel-good emotion. It’s a state of being that positively affects all aspects of our lives.

smiling woman looking off into the distance

Now that you know the benefits of happiness, it’s time to take the next step. Take control of your life and actively pursue happiness!

Remember, happiness is a habit. You must nurture and develop it.

If you’d like a great tool to help you develop the habit of happiness, consider downloading the Do Happy App today!

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