From IDEA Fitness Journal:
As it turns out, happiness is no laughing matter. Health and longevity - not to mention quality of life - are linked to it.
Contrary to old notions that happiness is frivolous, shallow, naive or a wast of valuable time, there is a growing body of evidence that happiness is beneficial for morbidity (risk of illness), survival of illness and longevity.
Researchers know that negative emotions such as sustained stress or fear can contribute to heart disease, stroke and diabetes; that chronic anger and anxiety can hasten atherosclerosis and increase systemic inflammation; and that early-child "toxic stress" from neglect or abuse has harmful effects on the brain and other organ systems.
The Harvard Public Health Review notes that happiness appears to have a positive health benefit independent of the impact of not having negative mental health factors.
HAPPINESS - ENHANCING STRATEGIES:
1. Count your blessings. Express gratitude for what you have, through contemplation, journaling or verbally sharing your appreciation for others.
2. Cultivate optimism. Keep a journal and write about the best possible future for yourself.
3. Avoid overthinking and social comparison. Minimize dwelling on problems and comparing yourself to others.
4. Practice acts of kindness for friends or strangers, directly or anonymously, spontaneously or in a planned way.
5. Develop nurturing relationships. Choose a relationship in need of strengthening and invest time and energy in healing, affirming and enjoying it.
6. Do more activities that truly engage you. Increase the number of experiences at home and at work in which you "lose" yourself.
7. Replay and savor life's joys through thinking about them, writing, drawing or sharing them with others.
8. Commit to your goals. Select several significant, meaningful goals and devote time and effort to pursuing them.
9. Develop strategies for coping with stress, hardship or trauma.
10. Learn to forgive. Keep a journal or write a letter to let go of anger and resentment.
11. Practice religion and spirituality.
12. Take care of your body by engaging in physical activity, meditating, and smiling and laughing.