Health & Wellness

Happiness Is Good for You

The right mindset in life may boost physical health


A positive outlook in life can improve not only your mental health, but also your physical health, suggests new research from the American Association for Psychological Science.

According to a research results published in the journal Psychological Science, those who participated in several weeks of psychological intervention reported better physical health and fewer sick days.

The study involved 155 healthy adults between the ages of 25 and 75; one group acted as a control. Researchers guided the participants through a 12-week program focused on defining each person’s strengths, values, and identity. Participants were taught how to regulate their emotions while identifying maladaptive thinking patterns that were holding them back in life. At the end of the program, participants were also taught how to nurture feelings of gratitude and how to strengthen their interpersonal relationships.

Researchers at the University of Virginia and the University of British Columbia followed up with participants three months later. Participants reported increased levels of well-being during the program and fewer sick days than the control group in the months after.

“Though prior studies have shown that happier people tend to have better cardiovascular health and immune-system responses than their less happy counterparts, 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,” said Kostadin Kushlev, one of the authors of the study, and a professor in Georgetown University’s Department of Psychology.

“These results speak to the potential of such interventions to be scaled in ways that reach more people in environments such as college campuses to help increase happiness and promote better mental health among students,” Kushlev said.

Photo: iStock/happy8790.