Why health and happiness are interlinked
Small amounts of regular exercise are vital for both health and happiness. A stroll in the park, or a bike ride or jog around the block reduces blood pressure and cholesterol, boosts your immune system and strengthens bones. It also increases energy levels and confidence, improves sleep quality and concentration, reduces stress and jump-starts creativity.
Intuitively, most of us know that connecting with nature is good for both health and happiness. Walking in the park, feeding birds and planting flowers have been proven to
help people suffering from both physical illness and mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Interacting
with nature can help people control their symptoms or even recover, alongside conventional medication.
Thinking beyond you leads to happiness. Human beings are social animals and evidence shows that helping others is actually beneficial for your own mental health and well-being. It can reduce stress and improve your emotional well-being, which has a positive impact on your physical health.
Loneliness and isolation can be detrimental to your health. Conversely, connecting with others can have a positive effect on your health. According to research, loneliness increases the risk of mortality, obesity and heart disease. Isolated individuals are also more prone to depression and suicide.
Physical symptoms don’t lead to unhappiness, stress does. The biggest predictor of unhappiness is stress and it is often stressing that leads to poor well-being, as opposed to the physical symptoms of a health condition. According to the World Psoriasis Happiness Report, for people living with the skin condition stress is the biggest indicator of unhappiness, not physical symptoms.
Social media causes stress. People on Facebook are 39% more likely to feel unhappy and 55% more likely to feel stressed. Social media is a constant flow of edited lives – seemingly happy, healthy people – and this distorts our perception of
reality. We compare our own lives, for the worse, and this has a detrimental impact on both our happiness and health.
Support from others
A lack of public awareness can make it more difficult to live with a health condition. Often, the impact of a health condition will be more significant if there is low public understanding about it.
Support from health professionals
A lack of trust in your doctor can lead to higher levels of unhappiness. There is an intimate connection between trust in your healthcare system and levels of happiness. Health professionals who prioritise the impact of a health condition on our happiness can contribute to higher levels of happiness for their patients.