JAN 27 2020
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JAN 27 2020
All Posts

Health, Happiness and Having A Good Life!

Posted by: Monique Pearson, General Manager, Rutherford Rede in opinion

Health, Happiness and Having A Good Life!

If you are like most people, you want to be happy and feel satisfied with your life. The search for happiness is universal. We plan holidays, seek partners, buy the latest gadgets, purchase cars and houses, and obtain tickets to the most coveted shows or sporting events, all with the hope that these choices will make us happy.

This year, you may have made a variety of New Year’s resolutions to improve your mind, your finances, or your health. Despite these noble intentions, many people lose focus on their goals, and the promises made on the first day of the year soon forgotten.

The reality is that you don’t need to make a resolution to improve your life. There are many simple changes you can make at any time. And to be happy and healthy doesn’t require a lot of money or time – just a little desire and motivation!

What makes us happy?

In his article The World Happiness Report and the science of personal happiness[1], Money and Consumer Affairs Reporter, Rob Stock says there is no hard and fast set of rules on how to be happy but if there were, a good one to include would be to live in New Zealand.

The World Happiness Report[2] provides an insight into the science of what makes people happy. According to the Report, we are in the World top 10 of happiest countries, beaten only by the Scandinavian five (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland), Canada, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Some of the key findings to come out of the Report clearly show there are things that make us happier, and things that detract from our happiness:

  1. Having money is good for happiness and reduces stress levels. Money brings choices and best of all it allows people to buy time and experiences, which are better than things. Money isn’t only of value for itself.
  2. Social connection and warm, intimate relationships are the most important prologue to a good life.
  3. Health is one of the most influential predictors of happiness. In April 2019, the Journal of Happiness Studies[3]did a literature study of research into the link between exercise and happiness. It concluded that all observational studies reported positive associations between physical activity and happiness. As little as 10 minutes of physical activity per day or 1 hour of exercise per week might result in increased levels of happiness.
  4. Freedom is an important factor. The Applied Research into Quality of Life agrees that the freedom to be master, or mistress of your own destiny is happiness-inducing. Once you have enough money to make basic choices, political freedom becomes important to happiness.
  5. Giving makes people happy. It is an expression of support. Or as the authors of the World Happiness Report put it: ‘It [generosity] is clearly a marker for a sense of positive community engagement, and a central way that humans connect with each other.’ Summer Allen from the Greater Good Science Centre at the University of California, Berkeley, says ‘some studies have found that people are happier when spending money on others than on themselves, and this happiness motivates them to be generous in the future.’
  6. An absence of violence, no restrictions on the ability to live your culture or sexuality, access to nature and reasonable commutes are also all predictors of happiness in humans.

Can being happy make you healthier?

‘Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.’

[4]The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle said these words more than 2,000 years ago, and they still ring true today. Scientific evidence suggests that being happy may have major benefits for our health.

Being happy may:

  1. Promote a healthy lifestyle. It may also help combat stress, boost your immune system, protect your heart and reduce pain. What's more, being happier may also improve sleep habits and practices, which is important for concentration, productivity, exercise performance and maintaining a healthy weight.[5] [6]
  2. Help keep your immune system strong.[7] This may help reduce the risk of developing colds and chest infections.[8] And while the effects of happiness on the immune system are not completely understood, research suggests happy people are more likely to take part in health-promoting behaviours that play a role in keeping the immune system strong. These include health eating habits and regular physical activity.[9]
  3. Help reduce stress levels.Normally, excess stress causes an increase in levels of cortisol, a hormone that contributes to many of the harmful effects of stress, including interrupted sleep, weight gain, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Studies demonstrate that cortisol levels tend to be lower when people are happier.[10]
  4. Protect your heart by lowering blood pressure, which may decrease the risk of heart disease. However, further high-quality, well-designed research is needed in this area.
  5. Improve physical functioning in people with arthritis. Happiness may also help reduce pain in other conditions. [11] [12] Researchers have suggested that happy people have lower pain ratings because their positive emotions help broaden their perspective, encouraging new thoughts and ideas. They believe this may help build effective coping strategies that reduce their perception of pain.

Bringing it all together

Emerging research shows there are a number of ways to increase your happiness, and that being happy may have major benefits for your health.

For starters, getting active, expressing gratitude, and eating well are all ways to help improve your mood. Being happy promotes a healthy lifestyle. It may also combat stress, boost your immune system, protect your heart, and reduce pain.

While further research may be required to understand how these effects actually work, there’s no reason why you can’t start prioritising your happiness now. Focusing on the things that make you happy will not only improve your life – according to the research, it may help extend it too!

Tags: Special interest topic,

Health, Happiness and Having A Good Life!

If you are like most people, you want to be happy and feel satisfied with your life. The search for happiness is universal. We plan holidays, seek partners, buy the latest gadgets, purchase cars and houses, and obtain tickets to the most coveted shows or sporting events, all with the hope that these choices will make us happy.

This year, you may have made a variety of New Year’s resolutions to improve your mind, your finances, or your health. Despite these noble intentions, many people lose focus on their goals, and the promises made on the first day of the year soon forgotten.

The reality is that you don’t need to make a resolution to improve your life. There are many simple changes you can make at any time. And to be happy and healthy doesn’t require a lot of money or time – just a little desire and motivation!

What makes us happy?

In his article The World Happiness Report and the science of personal happiness[1], Money and Consumer Affairs Reporter, Rob Stock says there is no hard and fast set of rules on how to be happy but if there were, a good one to include would be to live in New Zealand.

The World Happiness Report[2] provides an insight into the science of what makes people happy. According to the Report, we are in the World top 10 of happiest countries, beaten only by the Scandinavian five (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland), Canada, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Some of the key findings to come out of the Report clearly show there are things that make us happier, and things that detract from our happiness:

  1. Having money is good for happiness and reduces stress levels. Money brings choices and best of all it allows people to buy time and experiences, which are better than things. Money isn’t only of value for itself.
  2. Social connection and warm, intimate relationships are the most important prologue to a good life.
  3. Health is one of the most influential predictors of happiness. In April 2019, the Journal of Happiness Studies[3]did a literature study of research into the link between exercise and happiness. It concluded that all observational studies reported positive associations between physical activity and happiness. As little as 10 minutes of physical activity per day or 1 hour of exercise per week might result in increased levels of happiness.
  4. Freedom is an important factor. The Applied Research into Quality of Life agrees that the freedom to be master, or mistress of your own destiny is happiness-inducing. Once you have enough money to make basic choices, political freedom becomes important to happiness.
  5. Giving makes people happy. It is an expression of support. Or as the authors of the World Happiness Report put it: ‘It [generosity] is clearly a marker for a sense of positive community engagement, and a central way that humans connect with each other.’ Summer Allen from the Greater Good Science Centre at the University of California, Berkeley, says ‘some studies have found that people are happier when spending money on others than on themselves, and this happiness motivates them to be generous in the future.’
  6. An absence of violence, no restrictions on the ability to live your culture or sexuality, access to nature and reasonable commutes are also all predictors of happiness in humans.

Can being happy make you healthier?

‘Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.’

[4]The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle said these words more than 2,000 years ago, and they still ring true today. Scientific evidence suggests that being happy may have major benefits for our health.

Being happy may:

  1. Promote a healthy lifestyle. It may also help combat stress, boost your immune system, protect your heart and reduce pain. What's more, being happier may also improve sleep habits and practices, which is important for concentration, productivity, exercise performance and maintaining a healthy weight.[5] [6]
  2. Help keep your immune system strong.[7] This may help reduce the risk of developing colds and chest infections.[8] And while the effects of happiness on the immune system are not completely understood, research suggests happy people are more likely to take part in health-promoting behaviours that play a role in keeping the immune system strong. These include health eating habits and regular physical activity.[9]
  3. Help reduce stress levels.Normally, excess stress causes an increase in levels of cortisol, a hormone that contributes to many of the harmful effects of stress, including interrupted sleep, weight gain, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Studies demonstrate that cortisol levels tend to be lower when people are happier.[10]
  4. Protect your heart by lowering blood pressure, which may decrease the risk of heart disease. However, further high-quality, well-designed research is needed in this area.
  5. Improve physical functioning in people with arthritis. Happiness may also help reduce pain in other conditions. [11] [12] Researchers have suggested that happy people have lower pain ratings because their positive emotions help broaden their perspective, encouraging new thoughts and ideas. They believe this may help build effective coping strategies that reduce their perception of pain.

Bringing it all together

Emerging research shows there are a number of ways to increase your happiness, and that being happy may have major benefits for your health.

For starters, getting active, expressing gratitude, and eating well are all ways to help improve your mood. Being happy promotes a healthy lifestyle. It may also combat stress, boost your immune system, protect your heart, and reduce pain.

While further research may be required to understand how these effects actually work, there’s no reason why you can’t start prioritising your happiness now. Focusing on the things that make you happy will not only improve your life – according to the research, it may help extend it too!

Tags: Special interest topic,

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