How Happiness Impacts Health

Authored by Angelika Keene & Hailey Peirce
We all have an innate sense of what happiness is. Happiness is a universal feeling that we all desire to have. But did you know that happiness has been shown to actually impact various aspects of health? Read on to learn more about what happiness is, how it impacts health, and ways to feel more happy and healthy!

Happiness and Health

When we feel happy, we feel joy, contentment, and a sense that life is meaningful. Some synonyms for happiness include joy, blissfulness, and gladness. Our feelings of happiness can impact our health in many ways, including those listed below:

  • Reduces risk of developing disease
  • Improves immunity
  • Improves sleep
  • Reduces stress
  • Improves relationships
  • Increases work productivity and success

Feeling Happier with Gratitude

Research has shown that gratitude can significantly increase our feelings of happiness. Gratitude includes being intentionally thankful for something or someone in the past, present, or future. Below are some gratitude exercise ideas you can do to help you feel happier and healthier:

  • Begin a gratitude journal – Take a few minutes to write down several things that you are grateful for and why you are grateful for them
  • Write a thank you letter – Think of someone you are grateful for and write them a thank you letter. You could give it to them by hand or mail it to them.
  • Go for a gratitude walk – Go for a walk in a calm atmosphere. Ground yourself in the present moment and consider the things that you are grateful for.

References

Greater Good Science Center. (n.d.). What is happiness?. University of California, Berkeley. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/happiness/definition

Hallisey, K. (2020, November 24). This Thanksgiving, try a gratitude walk. UCLA Transportation. https://transportation.ucla.edu/blog/thanksgiving-try-gratitude-walk

Harvard Health Publishing. (2021, August 14). Giving thanks can make you happier. Harvard Medical School.https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier

Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (2023, February 22). Happiness. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/happiness

Newman, K. M. (2016, March 16). Five science-backed strategies for more happiness. Greater Good Science Center, University of California, Berkeley. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/five_science_backed_strategies_for_more_happiness

Newman, K. M. (2015, July 28). Six ways happiness is good for your health. Greater Good Science Center, University of California, Berkeley. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/six_ways_happiness_is_good_for_your_health

Northwestern Medicine. (n.d.). How happiness impacts health.  https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/how-happiness-impacts-health

Tay, L. (2021, March 8). The amazing benefits of happiness. Purdue University. https://www.purdue.edu/stepstoleaps/explore/well-being-tips/well-being-tips-2021/2021_0308.php

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Posted: March 14, 2023


Category: Health & Nutrition
Tags: Gratitude, Happiness, Health, Health And Wellness, Health Benefits, Healthy Habits, Journaling, Mental Health, Productivity, Stress Management, Walking, Wellness


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