“Don’t worry, be happy.” Sounds simple enough, yet many encounter setbacks in their pursuit of happiness. What if we could definitively say: “If you do this, you will achieve a happier and healthier life?” What if we could unlock the key to happiness? Enter Science.
“The Science of Happiness. Evidence is growing that the connection between mind and body – between well-being and physical health is real. -Laura Kubansky and K. “Vish” Viswanath
The TIME, The Science of Happiness: New Discoveries for a More Joyful Life, editors investigate exclusive, cutting-edge research from the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness. Focusing in on the debate surrounding whether or not there is a direct relationship between happiness and health.
They explore the factors that affect happiness in three outlined sections–mind, life, and spirit. They also consider aspects such as positivity, optimism, purpose, family, finance, spirituality, and gratitude, in order to examine happiness from different angles.
“Happiness is often talked about as an almost a cute catchphrase, not a topic of serious scientists.
Despite the growing body of research suggesting that positive emotions can promote good physical health and that negative emotions lead it illness, there is still no clear scientific consensus regarding the relationship between happiness and health.
Research on this matter may not be perfectly consistent, well-controlled studies conducted in large populations indicate that people who are more optimistic or have a greater sense of purpose have at least a 20% reduced risk of developing major illnesses such as coronary heart disease and diabetes.
The scientific evidence suggests that we should take seriously the idea that the links between happiness and health go both ways.
Happiness or being optimistic or satisfied is also a product of how one is engaged in the world and one’s social conditions. If a person lives in poverty, has a few or no strong friendships or family supports, or is treated inequitably in society due to racism or sexism, that person’s ability to lead a happy or healthy life is diminished.
There is a tendency to simply blame people for not being happy enough to maintain their own health. Not everyone lives in an environment where they can turn off worry, work at a job they love and live with a spouse they adore in a poverty-free, racism-free, sexism-free environment. The research included in The Science of Happiness is a work in progress and it is a step toward unlocking the key to happiness by grounding “happy” and “happiness” in fact and science.
TIME The Science of Happiness: New Discoveries for a More Joyful Life by The Editors of TIME by Laura Kubzandky and K. “Vish” Viswanath.
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