According to Gallup’s 2021 Global Emotions Report, people around the world are sadder and more stressed out than they’ve been in the past 16 years.
This makes sense. The world has become increasingly chaotic, and it can be hard to slow down and take stock of the good things in life.
Being happy is now more important than ever. But with everything going on around you, you may wonder, “Why should I be happy when there are so many things to worry about?”
Well, great things come from the most positive emotions!
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?
Being a happy person is great for you, and because happiness is contagious, it’s great for those around you as well!
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.
If you want to live your life on the front foot, you must be happy. This means that you need to work on your happiness each and every day!
Happiness is a habit, it’s not a given.
Should You Be Happy All The Time?
There are benefits to allowing yourself the space to feel your negative emotions. So, no. It’s also not realistic to never feel sad. Sadness is natural.
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 plays an important role in different areas of your life. These areas include 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 28%.
So, if you want to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and be physically healthy, work on your happiness!
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 has a higher chance of protecting your health than a weakened one.
The best ways to boost your immune system include eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Now, research shows that embracing a happy lifestyle also strengthens your immune system.
One study found that your immune system’s activity goes up and down 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 emotions were 2.9 times less likely to get sick than those who reported negative emotions.
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 healthy, focus on being happy.
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 levels of pain 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, try to 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 that can lead 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 who had elevated depressive symptoms in early or late adulthood.
The researchers hypothesized that excess stress hormones lead to damage of the hippocampus of the brain, 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 that you are happy. It may help keep dementia at bay.
6. Happiness Helps You Live Longer
Everyone wants to live a long, healthy, and happy life. Happiness isn’t an elixir of immortality. But, you’ll live longer if you lead a happier life.
Considering the many health benefits of being happy, it makes sense that your life expectancy could 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 were happier 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. This is compared to 90% of the happiest nuns. Isn’t that incredible?
A more recent study showed that happier people were 35% less likely to die than their unhappier counterparts over the subsequent 5 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 helps you cope with stress and anxiety during difficult times.
People who have 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 the heart rate and blood pressure of each student during the process. They found that the students who reported being happy at the start of the study recovered faster than the less happy students.
So, if you want to build your resilience, focus on cultivating happiness in your life.
8. Happiness Increases Your Productivity And Success Rates
Society acknowledges that there’s a relationship between happiness and success.
However, the narrative has been skewed so that most people believe that 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 phenomena 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 accuracy on tasks 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, if you want 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.
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 in 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.
There’s more to happiness than most people realize.
Happiness plays a critical role in improving our physical and mental well-being, our work productivity and success, and our relationships. As a result, our overall life satisfaction increases.
Happiness, then, is not just a feel-good emotion. It’s a state of being that has positive effects on all aspects of our lives.
Now that you’re aware of the benefits of being happy, 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!