So everyone is going on about being happy and positive all the time. But should we just be happy for the sake of being happy or are there more positive side effects to it?
So you obviously don’t want to be happy all day, every day. That would be exhausting, and other people would probably find you exhausting too. So lets steer clear of putting that down as a goal. But why should we want to have general well-being in the long term?
There has actually been a study on longevity and happiness. It’s called the Nun Study. You’re probably wondering how on earth did someone measure happiness?
Well apparently there has been developed a measure, by looking at how you write about past experiences. To say it simply, they look at how many positive words you use in your descriptions versus how many negative words you use. By doing so they can place you on a scale and tell whether you are happier or less happy then the next person.
Now what the researchers did next was to find a group of women who had all converted to Nuns sometime back in the day (1920’s). As a part of becoming a nun they had to write their life story. All the nuns lived together with a similar schedule, same living conditions, similar diet etc, etc. (you can hardly ask for a more controlled environment then that). The results showed that the happiest nuns lived 10 years longer than the least happy nuns. 10 years!! Now when you are 70 or 80 years old, ten years is a HUGE amount of time.
Not only do you live longer, but increased happiness is actually correlated with fending off depression, better abilities to cope with stress, building optimism, tranquility, resilience, vagal tone (what the hell is that?) – Heart health! (it’s something to do with your heartbeat). Your heart actually gets stronger from being happy, how awesome is that! The list just goes on and on.
(However, there are not only good side effects. I blogged about some negative aspects of happiness here)
I found so many more studies on this subject when I was searching. But, I think I’d better stop this blog post right here or I will go on for ages.
Hope you enjoy your day!