There is a wealth of evidence pointing to the fact that being happy and having a positive outlook will help you to live a healthier life. Happy people choose healthier food, exercise more frequently and sleep better. A positive outlook also improves the immune system, helps to combat stress and even helps to keep the heart healthy.
Happiness also helps to combat pain- One study of over 1,000 people with painful arthritis of the knee found that happier individuals walked an extra 711 steps each day — 8.5% more than their less happy counterparts.
Here are some tips from the experts to help you to culture a positive and happy outlook.
- Express gratitude: You can increase your happiness by focusing on the things you are grateful for. One way to practice gratitude is to write down three things you are grateful for at the end of each day.
- Get active: Aerobic exercise, also known as cardio, is the most effective type of exercise for increasing happiness. Walking or playing tennis won’t just be good for your physical health, it’ll help boost your mood too.
- Get a good night’s rest: Lack of sleep can have a negative effect on your happiness. If you struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep, then check out these tips for getting a better night’s sleep.
- Spend time outside: Head outside for a walk in the park, or get your hands dirty in the garden. It takes as little as five minutes of outdoor exercise to significantly improve your mood.
- Meditate: Regular meditation can increase happiness and also provide a host of other benefits, including reducing stress and improving sleep.
- Eat a healthier diet: Studies show that the more fruits and vegetables you eat, the happier you will be. What’s more, eating more fruits and vegetables will also improve your health in the long-term.
Researchers have suggested that happy people may have lower pain ratings because their positive emotions help broaden their perspective, encouraging new thoughts and ideas. They believe this may help people build effective coping strategies that reduce their perception of pain.
If happiness helps to manage pain and gratitude is a key to happiness, why not start by having some gratitude for your body? – your body has seen you through some great times as well as some pretty bad times but it has stuck with you all the way. Granted sometimes the body complains but in general it does a great job. A positive way to view those aches and pains is that each one is a reminder of a good time had – danced too long at that festival? Thanks body! Came off your mountain bike one too many times? Thanks body! Those are not “bad feet”, they are feet that still take you from A to B even though you insisted on spending your 20’s in knee high, patent leather, high healed boots- Thank you feet, you’re doing a great job.