How Does Happiness Impact on Health and Social Habits? The answer is very simple: research over the last 30 years has shown conclusively that happy people function better! They are healthier and live longer, they have better social connections, and they are more successful in their careers (Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, E. Diener & R.Biswas-Diener, 2008. )
Happiness & Health
Let us have a look at how happiness impacts on a person’s health. It has been found that happy people have a stronger immune system. They will have less seasonal illnesses and are more robust when it comes to infections. Happy people also have better cardiovascular health than people who are not happy. Thus many diseases that create huge health problems such as heart diseases and high blood pressure are less like to be found in happy people. A news study (Journal of Health Psychology, Vol. 13, No. 8, 1190-1197 (2008)) has found that depressed people are more likely to suffer obesity than people that are not suffering from depression.
Another health benefit of happiness is the difference in health behaviours. It appears that happy people are more likely than unhappy people to take preventative measures, for example wearing seatbelts. Happy people are generally more concerned with their physical well being. A big impact on their health, however, is due to the life style choices they make. Happy people are less likely to smoke, use recreational drugs, or drink excessively. Instead they would be more actively engaged in physical activities and recreational activities.
Altogether this is quite a lot. It pays to be happy. Indeed happy people live on average 5 years longer than those that are less happy. Whilst plenty of research has shown that overall high level of health causes people to be happier, scientists have also been able to establish, that this works the other way as well. Happiness creates better health.
Happiness & Relationships
Besides being healthier, happy people also have better social connections than unhappy people. They are more outgoing, approach people easier, socialise more, and have overall better relationships. Indeed, Diener & Biswas-Diener found that every single happy person they studied had good social relationships. They conclude that you have to have good supportive social relationships to be happy.
Happy people also stood out by being Self-confidence, showing leadership, having interpersonal warmth, are sociable, and overall having more friends than unhappy people. Here is an interesting twist: Diener & Biswas-Diener also found that Giving Social Support to others has a positive impact. People who help other people live longer and are happier than those who don’t engage in any people helping activity such as volunteer work.
This is an interesting lesson to learn for all the grumpy, frustrated, and bullying people out there. Be more happy guys! You will live longer and generally function better in all areas of your life. BE NICE!