Is happiness the absence of grief? Is it merely a chemical alchemy in the mind? Or is it man’s attempt to find transcendence in the transient world? Over the years, this emotion of happiness has fascinated the minds of social scientists and health workers alike. From what exactly compounds the rubrics of happiness and even more perplexing is what is the correlation between happiness and health? Yes, you heard that right. We have now discovered interesting facets of human emotions that delve deep into exploring the interesting relation between happiness and health.
You must have often heard the saying that happiness is a state of mind. Scientifically, the emotion of happiness is generated when neurotransmitters are released by the brain. Some common types of neurotransmitters that are associated with happiness are serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin. Now we know that happiness is derived from 3 broad acts, primarily, from things that we do for others, from things that we do for ourselves and from things that we are good at. Happiness is such an intriguing topic that its scope dates to years back with Pavlov and his experiment on dogs. Although the study was a breakthrough in terms of our understanding of what is known as condition reflex, yet what it also showcased was how the ringing of the bell was connected with hunger & expectation of food and the process of salivation was not only about the initial phase of digestion but with the happiness associated with food. Happiness is something that we all strive for and is perhaps what brings meaning to our lives. Years back it was thought that without health, there cannot be happiness and although that is true till date, we are now coming to the conclusion that it’s actually the other way round.
Several studies conducted over the years have shown the plausible relation between happiness and health. Here are 5 ways in which happiness affects our health:
● Improves the condition of the heart– A study conducted in 2005, entitled ‘Neurobiology of Aging’, Volume 26, Issue 1, showcased that in a group of participants, those who were happy reported lower risk of heart issues, lower heart rate and better blood pressure.
● Boosts your immune system – In an experiment conducted in 2003 with 350 adults, titled Emotional Style and Susceptibility to Cold, by the National Library of Medicine, it was found that among all exposed to common cold, those who had experienced at least 9 positive emotions, were less susceptible to cold.
● Reduces Stress – Under circumstances when one is with a loved one for a prolonged period of time, has inculcated positive habits like journaling, it has been found that coping with daily stress and anxiety had little or no effect on their overall being. Such an interesting insight was later found in a 2009 study published under Biological Psychology, Volume 83, Issue 2.
● Prevents diseases and disability – In a 2008 study conducted on around 10,000 Australians, it was found that those who were reportedly happy in their lives were about 1.5 times less likely to have long term health conditions.
●Increasing the span of life – When one is genuinely happy and satisfied in their lives, lesser are their chances to develop health issues over the period of time. The quality of life also determines the increased span of life.
So, friends, it’s important to find your piece of mind and strive for happiness. Now, the thing is in the pursuit of happiness, one must determine and assess what actually provides us happiness. This is because we often fall into an illusory trap of happiness, but in reality they are gimmicks that blind your vision. “So, if you are looking for happiness make sure you are looking at the right places” remarks senior oncologist of V Care Cancer Center, Dr. Vikash Kumar Agarwal.