Studies show it’s healthy to be happy. And, as Abe Lincoln said, “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” So here’s why and how you should cheer up!
A recent study, from the University of Illinois, linked heart health and many other health benefits to an optimistic attitude towards life. They found that people with the most positive outlook on life were twice as likely to be evaluated as having ideal heart health as the more pessimistic.
Studies have also shown that optimists tend to be more physical activity and they have better cholesterol and blood pressure readings, blood sugar levels and body-mass index ratios.
Happiness Research Is Optimistic
This study, published in Health Behavior and Policy Review, is the first known research clearly linking heart health and optimism within a broad range of people. More than 5,000 adults, ages 45 to 84, were tested over several years for a variety of different health parameters.
Participants also completed personal optimism and mental and physical health surveys.
The research team assigned health scores to each participant based on criteria established by the American Heart Association. Individuals with better than average optimistic outlook were 50-76% more likely to have higher health scores in the intermediate or ideal range.
Although earlier, smaller studies have shown how depression and anxiety have a negative effect on heart health, the results of this research is unique in that it was collected from a very large group of ethnically and racially diverse individuals from all across the country.
Think about it! Maybe laughter really is the best medicine. It certainly can’t hurt. So, since cheerfulness is good for your heart and your health, start looking for the glass that’s half full.
Can You Use Music to Uplift Your Spirits?
Hundreds of years ago, British playwright William Congreve coined the phrase, “Music hath the charm to soothe a savage breast.” The thing is, music affects how you feel, whether it’s for better or worse. So ask yourself are you “singing the blues” or “whistling a happy tune?”
A recent study at the University of Missouri showed the power of music to control mood. Two groups were asked to try to improve their mood by listening to one of two different songs – Aaron Copland’s upbeat “Rodeo” or Igor Stravinsky’s more somber “The Rite of Spring.”
The Copland group was the only one that experienced an improvement in emotional well-being, showing that those who seek greater happiness through upbeat music reaped the benefit.
In another experiment, one group of participants, who were given an objective to try to feel happier, described greater levels of happiness after two weeks of listening to upbeat music compared to a second group who simply listened to music without trying to alter their mood.
These were not the first studies showing the mood altering effects of music. An earlier study showed that music begins to have a mood influence as early as five months of age. A 2008 study published in the journal Infant Behavior and Development found that five month olds reacted positively to happy songs and by nine months were negatively affected by sad songs.
So music has the power to lift your spirit and help relieve depression. It can also energize you when exercising. To feel your best, make upbeat and uplifting music part of your everyday life.
Other Drug-Free Ways to Boost Your Mood
How else can you change your mood? First examine the way you live your life and make a commitment to become positively mood-altering proactive. Here are some great tools to use:
- Eat healthy
- Limit Alcohol
- Do a good deed
- Sing in the shower
- Meditate or pray daily
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Increase omega-3 fish oil
- Visit with friends and family
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Note: The information contained on this website is not intended to be prescriptive. Any attempt to diagnose or treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician who is familiar with nutritional therapy.