HappyPeople Live Longer Because They Have Healthy Lifestyles
Severalcommon diseases that lead to the death of humans are associated withbad lifestyle habits. For instance, heart diseases, high bloodpressure, and liver failure among other conditions often result fromlack of happiness. It is now evident that excess negative emotionshave adverse effects on the body. According to Sara Rimer, an authorand journalist from Boston, “Serious, sustained stress or fear canalter biological systems in a way that, over time, adds up to “wearand tear” and, eventually, illnesses such as heart disease, stroke,and diabetes (Rimer par 2).” The author also notes that extremeanger and anxiety could result in cardiac malfunction due to thealtered electrical stability of the heart as well as enhancingsystemic irritation (Rimer par 3). Happy people live longer becausethey are less prone to heart diseases, high blood pressure, and otherincapacitating illnesses.
Cheerfulpeople are less prone to heart disease. In a study conducted byJulius B. Richmond, a Harvard professor and pediatric doctor, andJack P. Shonkoff, they found that early childhood experiences such asliving under the care of a parent suffering from extreme mentalcondition, contact with violence, living alone and continuous neglectresults in “toxic stress” (Rimer par 4). The conditions makevital organs such as the brains to develop defects. The researchersgive an example of injurious outcomes such as hair-triggerphysiological effect to stress that causes an escalation in stresshormones, hypertension and abnormally high heart beat (Rimer par 5).On the contrary, joyful people produce little stress hormones.According to the director of Columbia`s Center for BehavioralCardiovascular Health, Karina Davidson, they discovered in a studycarried out over a decade that individuals with the tendency ofexpressing happy emotions had significantly low vulnerability tosuffering from heart attacks. The researchers added that the peopleare safe because they develop heart-protective outcomes over time(Reinberg par 3). The adrenaline is generated when one experiences anemergency. The adrenal glands synthesize the hormone so that it canboost carbohydrate metabolism, blood pressure, and breathing when oneis under stress. The enhanced generation of the chemical is essentialin emergencies as it sets up the muscles to respond promptly. Forinstance, if there were an approaching danger, the body would beready to escape. Similarly, if one needs to duck to avoid anapproaching object, the muscles have the strength available.Similarly, exposure to stressful conditions results in the release ofcortisol. In the normal body state, this steroid hormone has manybenefits to the body such as controlling the blood pressure andamount of fluids in the body (Klein par 11-13). Nevertheless, thefluids are extremely dangerous when they are secreted continuously inthe body. They can cause serious illnesses like ulcers, headaches,high blood pressure, and arthritis body (Klein par 14). Given thefindings of this research, it is recommendable for humans to maintainhealthy lifestyles that improve their immunity against diseases thatemanate from stress-related hormones. It is notable that jovialpeople make better life choices compared to the sad individuals. Forexample, they smoke less, take proper diets, consume littlequantities of alcohol and work out more as well as have a higherprobability of socializing with both family and friends when comparedto their sad counterparts. These activities boost the synthesis ofgood hormones, which in turn takes down the blood pressure. Moreover,it minimizes the secretion of emergency hormones. Amit Sood, thedirector of research at Mayo Clinic, added that content people enjoytheir careers to the full as they rarely experience incapacitatingstress. Their blood pressure is stable therefore, they can hardlysuffer from cardiac illnesses (Klein par 3). The outcome isbeneficial in that it improves the well-being of people.
Insome cases, it is possible for happy people to suffer from lifestylediseases such as stroke and high blood pressure. The outcome has ledto the controversial debate that refutes the logic that satisfiedhumans are less vulnerable to lifestyle illnesses. In a study dubbedtheMillion Women Study,Dr. Bette Liu, an epidemiologist, based at the University of NewSouth Wales, Sydney, contends that happiness does not extend humanlives. Instead, it attributes the increased lifetime to the factorsthat lead to contentment. The research used information gatheredusing 719,671 people. The respondents were classified as “regularlyjovial, sometimes happy and never satisfied” based on theirpersonal analyses. The respondents were then analyzed over a periodof 10 years. It emerged out that even people who had initiallyreported that they were happy had also denied during the studyperiod. On the same note, some individuals who had claimed that theywere never happy were still alive and healthy. As a result, Kaplan(2015) deduces that the factors that lead to the good health are theones that make people live longer. She states, “The things thatmake people happy, particularly their good health, are the samethings that shield them from premature death” (Kaplan, 2015, par6.). The researcher obtains this conclusion from the fact that evenwomen who had claimed that they were happy at the start of the studyhad the same vulnerability rate of succumbing to cardiac arrest andhypertension to the ones who had said that they were always unhappy.According to Weeks (2015), happy people could have illnesses,sedentary lifestyle and undesirable habits such as smoking. It isnoteworthy that some habits such as smoking begin developing in one’sbody through inducing cravings that activate production of cortisol.Similarly, a jovial person also has adrenaline hormone flowing intheir blood system because he or she is bound to come across issuesthat could trigger their rage occasionally. Alternatively, one mayexperience emergencies that lead to the synthesis of adrenaline. Theregular flow of stress chemicals results I increased blood pressure.The elevation of blood pressure often causes a stroke. The premise ofthe study is that a person may appear outwardly happy, have a bignetwork of friends and occasionally enjoy the company of both friendsand family members the individual could be vulnerable to cardiacdiseases and high blood pressure due to the extensive exposure tostress chemicals that increase the blood pressure. In another casestudy published in the Databases of Scholarly News, it notes thatthat people with certain physical characteristics, such as obesityand having excess fats, make them vulnerable to stroke andhypertension. This means that the little supplies of stress chemicalssynthesized in the short moments of rage could be enough to result indisastrous health issues (Scholarly Editions 10). It is noteworthythat content people have a superior ability to control outburst offury when compared with the angry individuals. The sad people developanger that increases the flow of adrenaline and cortisone hormones,which result in hypertension. High blood pressure is a predisposingfactor for stroke.
Satisfactionhones an active immune system in humans, which, in turn, combatsincapacitating sicknesses. Examples of diseases that are effectivelycontrolled by a healthy immune system include migraine headaches,fewer colds and stomach problems. It is widely known that healthyemotions contribute to healthy lifestyles, but studies in this fieldare limited. Fortunately, a recent research has helped in sheddingsome light concerning the way happy lifestyle could lead to improvedquality of life. Steve Cole, Ph. D and members of the University ofCalifornia researchers, analyzed 209 different types of genes in bothnone-lonely and lonely people. The research found out that some genesresponsible for preventing body inflammation were inefficient inforlorn individuals. At the same time, pro-inflammatory genes werestrongly expressed (Collingwood par 6-7). The implications of theresearch are that the activities of human genome changes depending onthe social epidemiological hazard factors. The study further addsthat the number of friends a person has determines theirvulnerability to experiencing extreme inflammation. The researchersnoted, “One of the most robust social risk factors comprises thenumber and quality of an individual’s close personal relationships.Socially isolated people are exposed to the risk of death frominfectious, cancerous, and cardiovascular diseases” (Collingwoodpar 9). Despite the research, the team agreed that health riskslinked to biological factors are inefficiently known. Theirobservation confirmed that loneliness is one of the biologicalfactors that predispose humans to various diseases throughsuppression of the capacity of the body immunity to fight offdiseases (Collingwood par 10). Dr. Sheldon Cohen, a Psychologist,also conducted a study where he found that people who occasionallyexpress positive emotions rarely catch flu. The doctor, inconjunction with his Pennsylvania University colleagues, used morethan three hundred volunteers to draw the conclusions. Steve Cole, aprofessor at the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at theUniversity of California, Los Angeles, expresses similar sentimentsthat happiness boosts the immune system, which, in turn, strengthensthe physical resilience (Marchant par 8). Based on the conclusionsthat that the mood people maintain determine their ability towithstand diseases, it is then safe to conclude that optimisticpeople have high physical resilience because of the stable immunity.Moreover, they can recover at a faster speed from surgical operationswhen compared with gloomy individuals. The debate concerninghospitalized patients recovering faster when they maintain a positiveattitude has received support and refutation in equal measure.However, the database supporting that happiness boosts the immuneactivity increases each day. This is also evident in people whobelieve in God to heal them. While the divine healing is yet to beexplored in depth scientifically, believing in God enhances chancesof surviving severe health conditions. Moreover, family and friendscontinue to embrace the culture of visiting their sick loved ones inhospitals. The significance of the visits is to provide theindividuals with the desired moral support.
Alot of evidence-based research is, however, necessary to convince thenaysayers regarding the significance of positive emotions towardsachieving a healthy lifestyle. Several individuals still argue thathappiness has zero effect towards the health of other people. To someextent, this point holds some merit because illness affectseveryone`s life (Pert 19). However, positive people develop fewerdebilitating diseases, and they recover from serious illnesses morequickly than pessimistic people do. In spite of this inarguable fact,Karen Lawson, a Medical Doctor, writes that repressed fearfulemotions results in high blood pressure and digestive disorders. Sadness escalates the synthesis of harmful chemicals, which in theirabsence, one can lead a healthy life. Lawson emphasizes thesignificance of refraining from negative feelings, hopelessness, andhelplessness can help one to develop a strong immune system that canefficiently resist autoimmune diseases. Norman Cousins, a magazineeditor, first developed the observation. Doctors diagnosed him with adeadly autoimmune condition known as ankylosing spondylitis (Marchantpar 5). His therapists predicted that his recovery from the diseasewas 1:500, which made the probability negligible. Nonetheless,Cousins defied the doctors and embarked on a happiness therapyprogram that included watching films. He began experiencing drasticrecovery that he linked to the satisfaction program. He also foundedthe Cousins Center that investigates the relationship betweenhappiness and the improved human health (Marchant par 6-7). Thepremise of the outcome proves that maintaining an optimistic attitudeboosts the autoimmune system that reduces the effects of severalchronic human diseases.
Inconclusion, happy people live longer because they are less prone toheart disease, high blood pressure, and other incapacitatingillnesses. Numerous studies have uncovered the significance of humanbeings in maintaining optimistic attitude towards life. The argumentthat maintaining a positive lifestyle helps people to live a happylife is still controversial in the modern society, especially, sinceeven healthy people are victims of chronic diseases. New studiescontinue to support the premise that happy people are likely to gowith the better life choices as opposed to the pessimists who tend tochoose detrimental life choices. The possibility of optimism helpinghumans to develop improved immune system that can withstand heartviral attacks and avoid lifestyle diseases such as hypertension andheart diseases originated from Norman Cousins. Cousins claimed thathis health recovered drastically because he was observing desirablehappy life habits even after the doctors had ruled the possibility ofsurviving the autoimmune disorder. At the moment, it is well knownthat happy lifestyle habits such as exercising, eating healthily,smoking less, socializing more with friends and family as well astaking minimal alcohol decreases the susceptibility of individualsfrom conditions such as arthritis, headaches, ulcers and high bloodpressure. These habits achieve the desirable health by suppressingthe secretion of cortisol and adrenaline hormones. Although the ideaof maintaining a positive lifestyle to offset ill health has receivedadverse criticism and positive acclaim in equal measure, increasingknowledge on the functioning of the immune system continues to provethe significance of healthy lifestyle. Happy people rarely sufferfrom chronic diseases that often affect pessimists. As such, stayinghappy and engaging in activities that suppresses sadness isindispensable for everyone seeking to live a long a healthy life.
Collingwood,Jane. “Study Probes How Emotions Affect Immune System.”PsychCentral2015. Accessed on August 28, 2016.
Kaplan,Karen. “Sad News: Scientists Say Happiness Won`t Extend Your LifeAfter All.” LosAngeles Times.December 9, 2015. Web. Sept 1, 2016. <http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-happiness-death-20151209-story.html>
Klein,Sarah. “Adrenaline, Cortisol, Norepinephrine: The Three MajorStress Hormones, Explained.” TheHuffington Post.March 19, 2014. Web. 28 Aug. 2016.<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/19/adrenaline-cortisol-stress-hormones_n_3112800.html>
Lawson,Karen. “How Do Thoughts & Emotions Impact Health?” Center forSpirituality & Healing. August 28, 2013. Web. August 28, 2016.
Marchant,Jo. “How Happiness Boosts the Immune System.” NatureMagazine, November27, 2013. Web. August 28, 2016.
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