Could increasing your happiness and life satisfaction help you steer clear of chronic illness?
It’s hard to say. There is evidence that people who describe themselves as “happy” seem to have fewer health problems. But having fewer health problems may boost happiness.
In any event. “happiness” is not static. It is possible to make yourself happy and increase happiness to potentially protect yourself from various illness.
Research suggests that, on average, about 50 percent of general life happiness is based on genetics. But 40 percent seems to be under individual control, with 10 percent depending on life circumstances.
These numbers suggest that even if you don’t consider yourself “happy,” you have some power to change it.
Here are some ways to boost your overall happiness and outlook:
Remain connected: Data suggests a strong link between happiness and close relationships with family and friends. Emotional stimulation is a very effective mood booster.
Volunteer: Getting involved in causes that mean something to you is another way to boost happiness.
Perform little random acts of kindness: Little kind acts like asking somebody how their day is going, buying them a coffee, or some other nice thing you can do for somebody can boost happiness. Bake your neighbor a pie!
Have some fun: Revisiting childhood through various activities, movies, or music can also help boost happiness. Pick up a hobby doing something you enjoyed in youth.
Buy time: There is data to suggest that people who spent money on time-saving purchases, like meal prep kits or other household chores, instead of material goods, had greater life satisfaction.
Hang with happy people: Happiness can be contagious. If your social network is happy, it’s better for your own joy. But get this: if you start boosting the joy in your social networks, it can spread!
Other ways to boost happiness include practicing gratitude, breaking up routine, spending more time outdoors, and making fewer decisions.