How about choosing to be happy?

We’ve all been told (more than once I’m sure) that the keys to longevity are “eat healthy, exercise, don’t smoke and sleep well”. Well these are all physical choices that we can actively make on a daily basis in order to increase our longevity, but what about our emotional choices? What if we just choose to be happy?

Today I read an article by Dr Brian Goldman discussing just that. We live in a world with physical inputs and physical results, but very infrequently do we ever think that maybe not everything is physical after all. Now physiologically of course, the happier we are, the more likely we are to exercise and want to eat well, and therefore have positive health outcomes, right? Or is it more than that? The more we are happy, the less prone we are to stress, the less our body produces cortisol and the less prone we are to diseases such as diabetes, and heart disease.

The concept of thoughts and emotions being an integral part of our overall health outcomes is something that really speaks to me since I am studying naturopathic medicine.

The naturopathic philosophy of medicine does not just reside in the physical being, but also the mental/emotional portion of that being, and that being as a WHOLE  must be healthy in all aspects in order to be fully healthy.

This holistic view takes everything into account, and fully embodies the idea that much of ill health outcomes can be the result of poor mental/emotional status or other emotional disturbances. The fact that grief and anxiety can have such profound effects on our physical being is widely known and accepted, but what about happiness? What about our positive emotions?  Can’t they have the same effects?

Last semester in health psychology, we listened to Shawn Achor discuss positive psychology. Not only is he an incredible speaker, but he gives such a powerful talk on how we are always wanting the next best thing. We measure our success by what we can do next not what we have already done, and therefore we are never able to be fully happy. This goes for many people, in the workplace, in school, and in life in general. We live in this fast paced society where we are always searching for the next best thing. What if we decide that RIGHT now is the best thing, and whatever comes after that will be the best thing? Can living in the now be the best thing for your work, health and life? …. Decide for yourself!

see Shawn Achor here http://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work.html

see the article here : http://www.cbc.ca/whitecoat/blog/2014/01/20/be-happy-to-stay-healthy/