18 Aug Why happiness is more than just a state of mind
Happiness can be elusive, and it can be fleeting.
But happiness is a feeling that we all enjoy and usually want to repeat as often as possible.
Some people are naturally happier than others because they tend to have a “glass half-full” mentality.
Others have to work much harder to achieve the same level of contentment.
The important thing to realise is that happiness is much more than a state of mind.
Let’s learn why, shall we?
Are happy people healthier?
We all like feeling happy, and we know that feeling means more than just a sense of elation.
You see, research has found that happier people are generally healthier too.
Why is that? Now it’s not that a happier disposition means that you are a healthier human being from birth – although happier people do tend to have better immune systems, according to scientific research.
Now it’s not that a happier disposition means that you are a healthier human being from birth.
Rather, happy people also tend to exercise more than people who see the world as glass half-empty.
And by doing that they are the recipients of a hormone called endorphins.
Endorphins are released from the pituitary gland of the brain during periods of strenuous exercise as well as emotional stress and pain.
They work by helping to relieve pain and inducing feelings of pleasure or euphoria.
This rush of endorphins from exercise leads to feelings of happiness, as well as an overall more healthy disposition.
There have actually been numerous studies that show a happy person is less likely to suffer from colds and flu, heart attacks and strokes, high blood pressure and many more ailments!
How much longer do happy people live?
You don’t need to be a scientist to understand that if you exercise often, you’re probably going to live longer.
The medical world has been telling us for decades that a balanced diet, as well as regular exercise, are two of the keys to a longer and healthier life. But what about the happiness quotient?
How much longer do you live if you’re happier?
Well, there has actually been research conducted in this area to find out!
Duke University conducted a study that showed happiness could add a staggering 16 years to the life of a man and 23 years to the life of a woman.
This isn’t a scientific forum by any stretch of the imagination so we won’t delve into the methodology of the research.
However, the results also took into account genetic make-up as well as other health factors such as smoking, drinking and lifestyle choices to determine the average happiness and life expectancy of participants.
It is certainly worth remembering when we do feel a little worse for wear that remaining happy and positive may add years to our lives.
How do you become happier?
Life is full of ups and downs and there’s often little we can do about it.
One thing we can control, however, is how we respond.
Now, we’re not suggesting that you can somehow prevent yourself from feeling sad when something bad happens – in fact, that is probably not a good strategy at all.
Instead, perhaps it’s a good idea to adopt some of the practices of happy people to ensure that you’re able to work through any issues more productively.
While happy people tend to have a positive mindset generally, they also respond to stressful events differently.
When faced with an upsetting episode, happy people will allow themselves to feel whatever they’re feeling.
They may then choose to learn any lessons they can from it – such as if there’s been a stressful interaction at work or they’ve lost an important contract – and move on.
Happy people choose not to dwell on issues that they can’t change.
Another strategy is going for a run, surf or bike ride, so that they can benefit from the endorphins we mentioned earlier to help improve their mood.
If you’re unable to undertake more strenuous exercise because of injury, there are a plethora of other options that can help produce the same result. These include:
And the good news for older Australians is that there doesn’t seem to be any evidence to suggest that your ability to produce endorphins diminishes as you age.
Retirement is a time to relax but not necessarily a time to sit around and do nothing. Especially when we’re all still able to produce those “happiness” hormones to help us lead a healthy and longer life.
The life expectancy of Australians has increased rapidly over recent decades with research seeming to show that happier people are living even longer still.
Many Australians will spend decades in retirement, but not many are financial prepared for it, which doesn’t bode well for their twilight years.
The world of banking and finance can be a pretty daunting one for both novice and sophisticated investors and since our establishment in 2002 we’ve focused on providing outstanding service and business standards.
This approach was vindicated when we were named Victoria’s favourite mortgage broker at the Investors Choice Awards.
So, if you’re considering developing a plan for financial and personal happiness in retirement, why not contact Intuitive Finance today to ensure you have the right information and expert support on your side from the very beginning.