If there’s one thing that can unite the world in the midst of cultural upheaval, it’s the desire to find true happiness.
We all want to feel genuine peace and love while spreading kindness, and we make unconscious choices every day based on what we believe will lead us toward greater happiness. It seems like a natural human inclination to seek out joy, and research is now showing that there is a direct connection between the amount of happiness we experience and our overall health.
In fact, spending more time laughing than frowning may expand your lifespan. And it is also true that if you spend more time with the family or the close circle of friends, your hapiness tends to be greater. Let’s take a look at the research and talk about how we can all benefit from fully embracing the old sentiment that laughter is medicine.
Healthy People are Happy People
In 2017, Healthline published an overview of research related to health and happiness titled “How Being Happy Makes You Healthier.” This report reveals a study of more than 7,000 participants that proves happy people are almost 50% more likely to eat fresh fruits and vegetables than people who report feeling less happy.
Even further, research has shown that happy people are more likely to lead active lifestyles, tend to have stronger immune systems and may experience less pain, stress and infection than people who aren’t so happy.
All of those health advantages translate to a healthier body and mind. There is scientific proof that just feeling happy can lower your blood pressure, which may reduce your risk for heart disease. Happiness can even lower your cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone that has a negative impact on your mood.
One study found that happy people have lower cortisol levels at stressful moments, which can protect their bodies from the negative impact of stress and trauma.
A Simple Tool that Leads to Greater Happiness
If you were to take an honest assessment of how much genuine happiness you have felt in the last month, what would you report? If you’re like most people today, you know that you’re not enjoying sensations of happy bliss nearly as often as you would like. That means that you’re not delivering the good vibes that your body needs to remain healthy, energized and motivated.
There is one simple tool that could help you turn that around: a life values inventory. In an article titled “Why You Need a Life Values Inventory to Find Happiness,” psychotherapist Mike Bundrant defines these values as concepts that are all of the following:
Life values are simply the deeply held convictions that are most important in our lives. They are what should ultimately guide our decision making, leading us to the right marital partner, the right career field, the right home and the right life in general. Bundrant of the iNLP Center notes that we cannot fully understand who we are as individuals and what will bring us true happiness until we discover our life values.
How do you complete a life values inventory? You can find some online, work with a counselor or simply sit down with pen and paper to write your way to a deeper understanding of what really matters to your life. Bundrant uses hypnosis with his clients, but you don’t have to go that far to get at least a basic understanding of the values that will push you to greater happiness.
We now know that your improved happiness will push you to greater health. The circle of health and joy is magical.