More Happy, More Healthy
The impetus to aim for greater happiness is not just so you can, well, be happy. At least a decade of scientific- and psychology-based research has made it clear:
More happy equals more healthy!
In other words, happy people generally live longer lives and develop fewer severe mental illnesses.
The human brain produces billions of neurochemicals that carry (inform), boost (excite), or balance (modulate) signals between neurons, or nerve cells, and other cells in the body. These chemical messengers (called neurotransmitters) affect both physical and psychological functions in the body.
Four neurotransmitters in particular – dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins – are associated with happiness and pleasure. As they activate and flood the central nervous system they stimulate positive reactions in the cells of the brain and body. Just some of the benefits of these cellular changes include:
- Stimulating the growth of nerve connections.
- Improving cognition by increasing mental productivity.
- Improving the ability to analyze and think.
- Enhancing our view of our surroundings.
- Increasing attentiveness.
- Even more happy thoughts.
What’s more, some researchers believe that happiness could be the one emotion that can prevent and reverses the cascade of cellular events that lead to disease. Now that’s a happy thought.