What does being happy do for us?


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!


Is it healthy to be happy all the time?


Are there actually bad side effects to happiness? And if so, what are they? I thought this would be an interesting thing to explore and ended up finding out some quite interesting stuff.

 There does seem to be a limit to happiness, in that too much of it can push into mental illness such as manic-depression, however that is mainly in the clinical sense and not individual. In an article called A dark side of happiness? How, when, and why happiness is not always good, they answer four, quite interesting questions, which I thought I would share with you guys.

(They define happiness as increase in positive emotions and decrease of negative ones)

  1. Is there a wrong degree of happiness?
    Yes apparently there is.
  • Too much happiness can actually promote risky behaviour and individuals may neglect important threats and dangers.
  • Lack of negative emotions can also be a marker of psychopathology (now that’s not cool), and it can cause worse outcomes in other disorders like depression.
  1. Is there a wrong time for happiness?
    Well this is kind of obvious in some cases like: don’t laugh through a whole funeral, but there were some other findings:
  • Positive emotions can change the outcome of negotiations for the worse (now that’s kind of interesting).
  • Happy people are slower to detect potential threats, for instance a car heading for you at high speed.
  • In circumstances where confrontation is necessary negative emotions actually yield better outcomes than positive ones.
  1. Are there wrong ways to pursue happiness?
  • Directly pursuing happiness has been shown to actually have negative effects (why has no one told us about this?)
  • By setting happiness as a goal you are setting your self up for disappointment, because there will always come times when happiness is not appropriate. People who set happiness as a goal get more disappointed at times of distress and report less overall well-being than people who do not directly pursue happiness.
  • However, accepting negative emotions and not actively trying to make them disappear leads to more well-being.
  • Ways to avoid direct pursuit of happiness: practicing the ability to regulate emotions, awareness of things that will make you happy, and engaging in activities that make you happy.
    In simple English: accept all emotions and do fun stuff!
  1. Are there wrong types of happiness?
    Being overly proud of ones self with out the right justifications will lead to negative social effects (well, that one is pretty obvious).

So happiness isn’t always a good thing. But there are huge amounts of good side effects too, which I will blog about shortly.

That’s it for now.

Hope you enjoy!

Feel Good Music

One of my favourite songs to listen to when I’m feeling down is the Open Happiness song. I know it’s a Coca-cola commercial, but hey! it does the job! My favourite version is actually one made for South East Asia. All the versions are pretty good. Most of them have better videos than this one has, however, this definitely has the best audio version.

I hope you enjoy!