Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 13th 2015 Contents Past research has found that positive
emotions---including being happy, lively,
and calm---appear to play a role in immune
function. One study found that when happy
people are exposed to cold and flu viruses,
they re less likely to get sick and, if they
do, exhibit fewer symptoms.
Is being happy in your genes?
There is some research to suggest that
some people are naturally happier than oth-
ers. In one study of nearly 1,000 pairs of
adult twins, researchers at the University
of Edinburgh suggested that genes account
for about 50 per cent of the variation in
people s levels of happiness.
The underlying determinant was genet-
ically caused personality traits, such as being
sociable, active, stable, hardworking, or con-
scientious. Further, according to psychologist
Nancy Segal, research has shown that the
biggest predictor of happiness in identical
twins is the happiness level of the other
But this does not at all suggest that you re
born with a certain level of happiness and
powerless to change it. Anyone can improve
their level of happiness, and your environ-
ment and life circumstances also play a role,
as there are many other indicators of hap-
piness outside of your genes (or your age).
Research suggests experiences make us
happier than possessions; the "newness"
of possessions wears off, as does the joy
they bring you, but experiences improve
your sense of vitality and "being alive" both
during the experience and when you reflect
back on it. (www.mercola.com)
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, July 13, 2015
Being "happy" is something that feels intrinsically
good, but pinning down exactly what happiness is
can be a challenge. What makes one person happy
is often different from the next, but one common
theme prevails, which is that being happy is asso-
ciated with better health. Happy people tend to eat
healthier, exercise more, and get better sleep than
those who are stressed out or depressed---all habits
associated with health.
But it s very much a case of "the chicken or the
egg." It could be that happiness itself is the impetus
for healthy lifestyle, which in turn leads to health.
It could also be the case that following a healthy
lifestyle, regardless of mental state, leads to better
health, and that good health makes it easier to be
Yet, there s even more to happiness and health
than leading a healthy lifestyle. Happiness causes
distinct changes in your body that strengthen your
immune system, boost positive emotions, decrease
pain and chronic disease, provide stress relief, and
more, according to an article by Joseph Mercola.
Mercola (born 1954) is an alternative medicine
proponent, osteopathic physician, and web entre-
preneur. He wrote the best-selling books The No-
Grain Diet (with Alison Rose Levy) and The Great
Bird Flu Hoax. Mercola criticises many aspects of
standard medical practice, such as vaccination and
what he views as overuse of prescription drugs and
overuse of surgery to treat diseases.
Here is an extract from one of his web articles:
Why happiness is healthy
A review of more than 200 studies found that
positive psychological well-being is linked with a
lower risk of heart disease, as well as lower blood
pressure, normal body weight, and healthier blood
Further, among those 60 and over, feelings of hap-
piness and enjoyment were associated with improved
mobility and a lower risk of developing a disability
over an eight-year period.
It s even been scientifically shown that happiness
can alter your genes. A team of researchers at UCLA
showed that people with a deep sense of happiness
and well-being had lower levels of inflammatory
gene expression and stronger antiviral and antibody
responses. This falls into the realm of epigenetics---
changing the way your genes function by turning
them off and on.
In addition, it appears people who are happy are
less impacted by everyday stressors, and this ability
to deflect stress is responsible for many of the gains
to their health.
Is happiness good for your health?
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
Anyone can improve their level of happiness.
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