Based on the research done by Fredrickson, B. L., Grewen, K. M., Coffey, K. A., Algoe, S. B., Firestine, A. M., Arevalo, J. M., … & Cole, S. W. (2013) written by Mara Rowcliffe, MS
Experiencing happiness has a positive impact on your physical health. But did you know the effect may depend on where your happiness comes from?
According to psychology research, all types of happiness are not created equal.
Feeling happy for pleasure, wealth or honor, like after your favorite sports team wins a game does not provide the same health benefits as the satisfaction that occurs in achieving a higher purpose, like when you help someone in need.
University of North Carolina researchers at Chapel Hill discovered that happiness from fulfilling your life purpose or meaning is far better for your health than experiencing self-gratification. They evaluated participants’ experience of happiness, their overall health, depression levels, and collected a blood sample to measure immune system health through indices of inflammation and antiviral response. Results indicated those individuals who described themselves as having a sense of direction and meaning in their life showed a better immune response, indicating they were healthier and more protected from illness compared to those who described their happiness that came from pleasure.
What gives your life meaning? Focus on fulfilling your purpose. Not only will it bring happiness, but it may positively influence your health!
Fredrickson, B. L., Grewen, K. M., Coffey, K. A., Algoe, S. B., Firestine, A. M., Arevalo, J. M., … & Cole, S. W. (2013). A functional genomic perspective on human well-being. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(33), 13684-13689.