Can Having a Happier Outlook on Life Make Us Healthier?

Can Having a Happier Outlook on Life Make Us Healthier?

via Psychology Today by Christopher Bergland

A psychological intervention called “ENHANCE“—which is a comprehensive 12-week program designed to boost subjective well-being (SWB) and promote sustainable happiness—may have a positive effect on self-reported physical health, according to a new study. This paper (Kushlev et al., 2020) was published on June 24 in the journal Psychological Science.

The findings of this randomized clinical trial suggest that having a happier outlook on life might make people healthier. Notably, the team of researchers from the U.S. and Canada also found that either online or in-person participation in the Enduring Happiness and Continued Self-Enhancement (ENHANCE) program were equally effective.

“Prior studies have shown that happier people tend to have better cardiovascular health and immune-system responses than their less happy counterparts,” first author Kostadin Kushlev said in a July 22 news release. “Our research is one of the first randomized controlled trials to suggest that increasing the psychological well-being even of generally healthy adults can have benefits to their physical health.”

Kushlev is an assistant professor of psychology at Georgetown University and director of The Digital Health and Happiness Lab. He conducted this research with colleagues at the University of British Columbia and the University of Virginia.

Senior author Ed Diener of UVA, the University of Utah, and the Diener Education Fund describes this program on his website:

“The goal of ENHANCE is to teach social skills, ways of thinking, and understanding [of] one’s values and strengths as means of increasing life satisfaction, meaning, and enjoyment of life, and as well as reducing stress and depression.”

ENHANCE (Kushlev et al., 2016) takes a three-pronged approach to helping people overcome challenges and obstacles on their path to enduring happiness:

  1. Learning 10 principles of sustainable happiness. 
  2. Engaging in activities that apply these principles. 
  3. Developing habits that integrate these principles into your daily life. 

… keep reading the full & original article HERE

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