Secrets of Happiness
Most of us would be thrilled to win a big lottery jackpot. But did you ever notice how many big lottery winners end up broke and miserable? It only goes to show that money really can’t buy happiness.
Actually, feeling happier in life can cost you almost nothing. But the payoff can be big…
For example, happiness is good for your heart.
Doctors from the Nova Scotia Health Survey followed more than 1,700 adults for 10 years. After they adjusted for other heart-health risks, they discovered that happy people are 22% less likely to have some kinds of heart trouble.1
No pills, no hours-long workouts. Just by being happy. How’s that for an easy “prescription”?
And feeling happier can be remarkably easy. Especially when boosting your happiness means doing something you really enjoy.
Like eating chocolate. As long as it’s the right kind of chocolate, that is.
You see, the cocoa in chocolate contains chemicals – called flavinols – that can boost your mental clarity and mood.2 But these flavinols are bitter. So most chocolate makers try to cut the flavinols in their products for a sweeter flavor.
For chocolate’s mood-boosting effects, choose dark chocolate. And the darker the better. Dark chocolate, with its high cocoa content, delivers more flavinols. Organic chocolate is your best choice.
Of course, loading up on chocolate – of any kind – isn’t a great idea. But eating an ounce of dark chocolate a few times each week will probably do you a lot more good than harm.
If having chocolate in the house is too much of a temptation, here’s another easy way to give your mood a natural boost.
You probably know Omega-3 fatty acids make eating oily fish a heart-healthy choice. But those same Omega-3’s can also improve your mood. One Omega-3 in particular – called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – is linked to more positive moods. Some studies show EPA can even promote less aggressive behavior.3
Salmon, mackerel, oysters and other oily fish and shellfish are good sources of EPA. If you don’t enjoy fish, though, fish oil capsules provide the EPA without the fishy flavor.
Of course, getting the right nutrients isn’t the only way to increase feelings of happiness. Feeling happier can be as easy as just laughing more often.
Researchers exposed a group of mature adults to humor on a regular basis. After just 8 weeks, the subjects reported they had lower levels of pain and loneliness… and felt happier and more satisfied with their lives.4
In other words, making time to watch your favorite sitcom… listening to an old comedy album… or going to a comedy club with friends is more than just fun. It could give your health a boost, too.
Another easy way to be happier is to keep happy people nearby. Why? Because it turns out that happiness is contagious.
Researchers analyzed 20 years’ of data from the Framingham Heart Study. They discovered that having a happy neighbor, spouse or other close relative increases your chance of being happy yourself.5
A happy friend living within a mile gives your happiness a boost, too. And your chances of feeling happier jump even with three degrees of separation. In other words, if a friend of a friend of a friend is a happy person, you’ll probably wind up feeling happier, too.
And here’s one last good reason – just in case you need one – to enjoy greater happiness…
One factor – more than any other – determines if you’ll be happy as you get older. It’s not money… or friends… or even your health. It’s how happy you were in the years before.
The Georgia Centenarian Study found that happy years naturally lead to more happy years. Even after age 100. In this study, the happier centenarians were in their younger years, the happier they were after reaching 100.6
And that’s good to know. Because your chances of living a long life are better than in any previous generation. By using the simple tricks I’ve shown you here, you could make that longer life a much happier one, too.
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
Best Life Herbals
1 Davidson KW, et al. Don’t worry, be happy: positive affect and reduced 10-year incident coronary heart disease: The Canadian Nova Scotia Health Survey. Eur Heart J (2010). doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehp603.
2 Scholey AB, et al. Consumption of cocoa flavanols results in acute improvements in mood and cognitive performance during sustained mental effort. Psychopharmacol. 2010 Oct;24(10):1505-14. Epub 2009 Nov 26.
3 Kidd PM. Omega-3 DHA and EPA for cognition, behavior, and mood: clinical findings and structural-functional synergies with cell membrane phospholipids. Altern Med Rev. 2007 Sep;12(3):207-27.
4 Tse MMY, et al. Humor Therapy: Relieving Chronic Pain and Enhancing Happiness for Older Adults. J Aging Res. 2010; 2010: 343574.
5 Fowler JH and Christakis NA. Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study. BMJ 2008; 337:a2338.
6 Bishop AJ, et al. Predicting Happiness among Centenarians. Gerontology. 2010 January; 56(1): 88–92.