Feeling good is good for you.
A study conducted by University College in London shows that older people who are more content with their lives are less likely to develop mobility problems as they age.
At the end of the 8 year study, only 4% of the happiest seniors had developed mobility problems that affected their ability to perform daily tasks. In contrast, 17% of those who were the least happy developed similar mobility problems.
The author of the study, Anthony Steptoe, Director of Epedemiology at the College suggests those who were happier suffered less from the harmful affects of stress hormones than those who were discontented. He cited other studies that shows that happier people generally live longer than unhappy people.
But even more important than longevity to most people is the quality of the their lives; this study seems to indicate that happiness contributes greatly to a better quality of life as we age.
The Happiness Pursuit
Experts say that happiness doesn’t come from one-off events such as winning the lottery or even from trying to develop positive thinking skills. As human beings, negative experiences can become part of our neural structure, so we need to be proactive in developing a sense of peace and contentment.
Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, author of Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence suggests that consciously training our brains to focus on two feelings, gratitude and gladness, can rewire our brains and compensate for the “negativity bias” humans have in response to negative experiences.