Those feel-good vibes that flow from your being happy can be good for your health. Moreover, your happiness will likely rub off on others, making them happy too. Happiness is like a virus – it can be passed on.
These are the findings of two studies done in the United States over the past 20 years.
In one of the studies, reported three years ago, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University said there is evidence that positive emotions like happiness are linked to good health and increased longevity.
While the scientists drew no definite conclusions after talking to hundreds of people over a 10-year period, they deduced that people with positive emotions experience lower rates of chronic illness, symptoms and pain.
They also found that ‘happy’ test subjects were more resistant to cold and flu viruses than people with more negative feelings.
In the other study, a 20-year one by a team from the University of California at San Diego and Harvard University, 5,000 participants were quizzed on their social networks. The researchers reported that, on average, every happy person in one’s environment increases one’s own chance of happiness by 9 per cent.
We should welcome such ‘contagion’. However, this isn’t about fleeting happiness. It isn’t about the kind you feel after a pleasant evening with friends, or having snapped up a good bargain at a sale. It is about lasting happiness linked to positive thoughts.
A positive attitude, when in the most trying of circumstances, is admittedly hard to achieve, but it can help raised one’s spirits and fight off those unhappy blues.
- Gloria Chandy