Postive effects of happiness on your heart and health

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Happy heartIn a study looking at the relationship between happiness and heart disease (published in the European Heart Journal), researchers from Columbia University found that people who are enthusiastic and content are less likely to develop heart disease than less happy people. They say that if everyone did more of what makes them happy, there would be fewer heart attacks and angina.

They say that this could be because happy people sleep better, are more likely to live a heart-healthy lifestyle, and have less stress in their day-to-day lives.

Did you know?
Several "Happiness
Increase Experiments"
have revealed that
we can become
25 percent happier 
in as little as
two weeks

And intriguingly, it seems that even slapping a smile on your face when you’re not really feeling happy, helps too. ‘If you aren’t naturally a happy person, just try acting like one,’ said Dr Karina Davidson of Columbia University Medical Center, the paper’s lead author. ‘It could help your heart.’ It is also thought that happy people have stronger immune systems, are likely to live longer, and are less likely to present with symptoms of psychopathology.

The best news is that several “Happiness Increase Experiments” have revealed that we can become 25 percent happier in as little as two weeks. However, becoming happy isn’t as simple as seeking out things that provide instant gratification. Negative sources of “pleasure” like drinking, gambling or over-eating don’t count and in fact, erode your “happiness store”. Instead, one of the keys is to practise gratitude, and another is to practise giving. Spending quality time with friends, family and people we care about has an instant happiness boosting effect, as does having a pet in the home. And time for yourself brings heightened overall happiness, too.

<< Back to managing your heart

Written by

Laura Twiggs is a multiple-award-winning, Cape-Town-based writer who has, over the last decade, contributed to a range of local and international magazines, including Marie Claire, Shape, Elle and Glamour.

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  1. Maddy

    Completely agree. For me appreciating what I have and not dwelling on what I don’t is a great way to keep happy and stress free.

    5 years ago •

  1. Zu

    One of my key to happiness is APPRECIATION.

    6 years ago •

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