Happiness Is... Health

It's been said that "health is wealth" but can that same sentiment also translate to "health is happiness"? Times Magazine's recent publication, The Science of Happiness, dove into this topic as it relates to the mind-body connection and its correlation to happiness.

First, defining the variable of health is a difficult task to do as, essentially, "we have no clear answer for what exactly it means to be well, beyond looking at the absence of disease." (times Magazine page 7) For the sake of this overview, health can be seen as having both a physical component of your body running smoothly, efficiently, and in tune, paired with your mental state being aligned as well.

Here are 3 counterintuitive ways to move towards health, and in turn, happiness:
1.     Put your oxygen mask on first
We've all been on an airplane as the flight attendant is going over the safety protocols showing the adults to put their oxygen masks on before helping children - that feels a bit wrong at first doesn’t it? What this teaches us is that you can't give or share something you don't have. Take care of yourself (a 15 minute walk outside or even enjoying a hot cup of coffee undisturbed) and then use the overflow of that to give to others.

2.     Allow yourself to be sad and cry in a movie
You read that right - having the physical mind-body connection of releasing tears (aka crying in a movie) can lead to happiness! A study from Ohio State University found that "the more sadness people experience during a movie, the greater their reported feelings of happiness were after the flick… the sadness that you feel as a result of watching unfulfilled love, for instance, can spur you to think about your relationships - and appreciate what you have." (Page 21)
3.     Fake it 'til you feel it
Even if you aren't feeling particularly joyful today, the mere act of smiling can have a positive physical affect. One study at the University of Kansas reveals that "flashing a grin slows down your heart rate during stress and chills you out." (Page 21)
These small steps may start you on a journey towards a healthier lifestyle. If you'd like to talk to a licensed professional, know that my door is always open for an appointment. You can either email me at leemiller.therapist@gmail.com or call my office at (310) 614-0323.

Be well,