HEALTH: Does being happy keep us healthy?
HAPPY thoughts lead to a healthy body - it's a belief that has been around for some time but now there is a team of researchers wanting to prove it.
Everyone's physical reactions differ to emotional triggers, of which there are many, whether it's money, fitness, good food, their community, their home and more.
How the researchers scientifically measure these happiness influences on the body is the challenge ahead for the team at the Lee Kum Sheung Centre for Health and Happiness at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Their focus is on emotional factors that promote the attainment and maintenance of high levels of wellbeing.
"There are more than 100 different measures already in use for the various forms of well-being,” Professor Laura Kubzansky said.
"And it may be that the instrument we need for our research does not yet exist.”
Another challenge for the researchers will be working out how to incorporate findings from those people who are innately happy.
Then they will need to show how to practically apply the study outcomes.
It might be some time before the outcomes are known so, in the meantime, why not try out some simple ways of using positive emotions to improve your physical health and see what differences they make:
- Wake up a bit earlier in the morning and enjoy the beauty of the sun rising.
- Listen to your favourite tune or album.
- Put on some sunglasses, walk outside and smile at the world.
- Plan to do something, do it and then congratulate yourself for getting it done.
- Spend time with people who make you feel good.
- Spend some time with your pet.
- Hug someone you love.
- Sleep an extra hour.
- Go for a walk.
- Keep smiling, even when no one is looking.
While testing out the above suggestions, it might be a good idea to avoid commuting, queueing and sorting out your finances.