The Relationship Between Health and Happiness

Joan Breiner


February 16th, 2015

Doctors and researchers have long studied the link between happiness and good health. As a result, there is a wealth of scientific literature detailing how negative emotions harm the body. High-levels of stress, anxiety and fear, over time, can create an element of “wear and tear” that can lead to illnesses such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Furthermore, as reported by the Harvard School of Public Health, chronic anger and anxiety can disrupt cardiac function by changing the heart’s electrical stability, hastening atherosclerosis and increasing systemic inflammation.

Minor stress, anxiety and fear are a normality of life; however, as research indicates, prolonged and extreme negative feelings can take a physical toll. From a study reported in the Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, we know that facial scars have been shown to cause high levels of anxiety and self-consciousness.1 If you are suffering from negative emotions, as a result of acne scars, it’s important to care for your mental health to ensure your physical health is not impacted.

Here are three tips for a happier, and healthier, you:

  • Don’t Underestimate the Power of Optimism: Although an overall perspective that good things will happen may be hard to have, you can change your outlook by just thinking about what you are grateful for. Feelings of gratitude produce feelings of optimism which can diminish critical and judgmental thoughts that can contribute to feelings of depression.
  • A Supportive Network: Surround yourself with family and friends that are encouraging, supportive and inspiring. A positive social network can help pull you out of an emotional funk.
  • Self-Regulation and Awareness: Dedicate time to assessing how you feel and why. The more you understand why you feel a certain way and the triggers that caused those emotions, the easier it is to develop ways to bounce back and avoid those trigger behaviors/situations in the future.

While it’s not an exact science, remember that your emotional health is extremely important. Just as you care for your heart health and physical wellbeing, dedicate time to maintaining mental health.

1Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, 2008, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1748681508003951

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