Surprising Research on Happiness & Health

You’ve all heard by now that happiness doesn’t just feel good, but it’s actually good for your health.  It’s linked to all sorts of benefits from higher earnings, better immune function to improved creativity.

Risk is Good.  The latest research actually finds that activities that lead us to feel uncertainty, discomfort, and even a dash of guilt are associated with some of the most enjoyable moments in people’s lives.  Truly happy people seem to have an intuitive grasp that sustained happiness is not just doing things you like but also requires growth and adventure beyond your comfort zone.  Happy people are simply curious.  (For example, you can meet up with friends for the “safe” burger or pizza outing.  OR…you go out for Ethiopian.  You run the risk of not liking it but you might be pleasantly surprised.)  Curious people accept that being uncomfortable and vulnerable is not an easy path, but it is an invest that springboards to higher psychological peaks.

Less Details is Better.  Happiest people have a natural protection against getting “sucked” in by the little details.  Too much attention to details can interfere with basic day to day functions.  Happy people tend to be uncritically open toward strangers.

Friend During GOOD Times.  The happiest people are the ones who are present when things go right for others, and whose own wins are regularly celebrated by their friends.  We often think about a shoulder to cry on, but it’s actually celebrating the good times regularly that makes us happy.  Discussing positive experiences to an attentive listener makes the experience even better and makes us more resilient during “bad” times because we remember how amazing the good times were.  While it might be nice to send a friend flowers after surgery, you both get more satisfaction out of the flowers for her graduation or engagement.  Romantic couples who don’t make a big deal out of each others’ successes, break up.  When they celebrate accomplishments, they are more likely to be satisfied and committed to the relationship leading to greater love and happiness.

All Emotions are Good.   Happy people don’t hide their negative emotions.  They learn to confront them head on and change their behaviors.  They also learn who to confide in and when to switch their mind set even when it’s uncomfortable (ie, when the other people is not open to listening or the situation is inappropriate).  The ability to shift mental states as circumstance demand is key to well being.

Balance Pleasure/Purpose.  Occasionally missing your workout routine to catch a sporting match, to take a bath, or to read is crucial to living happy.  “Imagine one foot rooted in the present with mindful appreciation of what one has, and the other foot reaching toward the future for yet to be uncovered sources of meaning.  Thinking about which activities you found most rewarding/meaningful, what you’re good at & recognized for, and which ones you crave more time for can help you feel happy.”  Those who sacrifice short term pleasures when there’s opportunity to take progressive action towards what they aspire to become in life are happiest.  Do you say/do what you ought to opposed to what you love?

In the Office.  People come to lose weight or eat better in my office, but they leave transformed.  We address your desires, goals, happiness, character, attitude, perspective, vision, communication, as well as food and exercise.  This is how you are truly healthy, thin, and thriving for the rest of your life!!

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