The Secret to a Healthy Life: Come on, Get HappyPosted: September 9, 2017 in Lifestyle by Craig Primack MD FACP
What if a smile was exactly what the doctor ordered? Recently, a team of researchers conducted a comprehensive review of scientific findings over the past several decades and concluded that happiness has a direct positive impact on overall health. This means that the notion of putting on a smile and faking it until you make it actually holds some merit. If you want to start improving your health, the best place to start is with your mindset.
There are several leading theories as to why happiness can have such a strong influence on personal health.
These theories include:
- People who are happy are more likely to take care of themselves and choose healthy behaviors, including exercising, eating well, and sleeping well.
- Happiness can have a chemical influence on the body that positively influences cardiovascular and neurological health, lowering your risk of dementia and cardiovascular disease.
- Happiness can influence hormonal levels and decrease inflammation in the body, reducing risk of disease and providing helpful anti-aging benefits.
Similarly, there is a wide range of research that has found a strong link between depression, anxiety, and obesity. In particular it has been noted that those who struggle with depression are often more likely to struggle with obesity, as well as be less likely to engage in regular physical activity and less likely to eat a predominantly healthy diet.
Happy Life, Healthy Life
It is unclear across all of these studies whether emotional health comes first and influences the health of the body, or if it works the other way around. However, researchers have looked at the practice of using mindfulness and positive self-talk to improve personal happiness, and have found that as happiness levels improve it is also likely to see an improvement in personal health.
Being happy isn’t a guarantee that you are going to be healthy, but as you are trying to improve your health through a medical weight loss program, there is substantial evidence to suggest that improving your personal happiness can result in helping you feel healthier, too. Keeping a positive mindset can have a huge influence on your willingness to get out of bed and work out in the morning, or to head home to prepare a healthy meal for your family rather than rely on fast food again. Making these healthy decisions are often easier to do when you are feeling positive and happy, with an attitude that keeps you on track for weight loss success.
So, as you work through your medical weight loss program, consider what you can do for yourself to improve your personal level of happiness. The more you focus on being yourself and keeping yourself positive and happy, the more likely you are to see the weight loss results you have been looking for.