Is your bad mood ruining your health?
Did you know that the human body has approximately 656 to 850 muscles? And when you laugh you can use up to 400 of these muscles, burning up to 50 calories in just ten minutes? Laughter is commonly known to be a mood-booster but recently I read an article that explained laughter has many more health benefits. According to “How Your Mood Affects Your Health” by Anastasia Stephens (http://www.alternet.org/health/70342), a few minutes of uncontrollable laughter can decrease your blood pressure and relax muscles all while burning calories. In this same article, Stephens discusses several other moods and associated behaviors that can affect our body and influence our health.
Unlike laughter, arguing with your significant other or being jealous may be hurting your health. Arguing can delay wound healing time while jealousy weakens your immune system. Both of these have shown to increase your blood pressure and heart rate too. Another emotional heath harmer is stress. Speaking from personal experience, I know that being stressed and under pressure definitely affects my body. I lose sleep, have a decreased appetite and always seem to catch a cold or the flu during crunch time.
Stephen’s also discusses about the negative affects of stress. She found that in research done by the University College of London that long-term stress can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. Stanford professor of Biological Sciences was quoted in the article saying, “Memory and accuracy are both impaired” in short term stress situations.
If you find yourself angry, jealousy or stressed though, don’t worry! There are several other health-boosting moods besides laughter that can get you back on track. Falling in love increases your nervous system health and memory and cuddling releases anti-aging and anti-stress hormones but you don’t need to find Mr. Right to be happy and healthy. Stephen’s discusses several other healthy and not so healthy moods in her article too. Definitely check it out.
After reading that article though, I was curious about the truth to “happy=healthy”. I’ve heard that a million times and wanted to know if it was true or if it was just some ploy to shut up complainers. Thankfully, it’s true! A Duke University study showed that working out regularly may be as effective as depression medications.
In the same article, (http://www.good.is/post/does-being-happy-make-you-healthy/), blogger, Mallika Chopra, raised an interesting point though. Is happiness entirely in our control? Not completely, according to Martin Seligman, a social scientist.
His research showed that while 50% of our happiness is controlled by our actions, 40% is genetic and the remaining 10% is controlled by external life conditions. So don’t sweat the little things and when you are stressed, take a minute to prioritize. In a year will whatever’s bothering you matter? If not, then it’s probably not worth stressing over. If you answered yes, then take some time to figure out how you can tackle the issue instead of just brooding over it. Life’s too short to spend it being stressed!
Moral of the story?
In these long and dreary winter days, it’s important that we remember that food and exercise aren’t the only factors that contribute to our health. Avoiding stress and keeping a positive attitude will help keep you healthy. Next time you find yourself nearing a breakdown: go find a cuddle buddy, laugh with your friends or watch a Ryan Gosling movie (that’s close to falling in love, right?); just do whatever makes you happy.
Happy reading everyone!