“Happiness is the highest form of health” – Dalai Lama quote.
New scientific research proves that our emotions have a major effect on our health. People who frequently experience many different types of happiness are more likely to live long, healthy lives.
Spiritually enlightened people know that health begins in the mind.
Positive emotional energy in the mind produces positive consequence in the body. And a happy mindset leads to healthy lifestyle choices that increase longevity.
In one study researchers proved that mindset is key to weight loss. People with lean, healthy bodies tend to have healthier, more positive mindsets. It all begins with our attitude. When our attitude is healthy, everything else falls into place.
Now, a new study is proving that positive emotions lead to health and longevity.
New research from Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences shows that there is a direct link between happiness and health. Specifically, the more different types of happiness we experience each day, the longer we are likely to live.
People who experience many different types of happiness are more likely to be healthy and to live long lives
Researchers found that individuals who frequently experience many types of happiness are more likely to be happy.
The researchers analysed 175 people between 40 and 65 about how often they experience different kinds of happiness in a 24 hour period. The different types of happiness include excitement, amusement, and inspiration (the full list is poste below).
The participants were also asked about how frequently they experience negative emotions like stress and fear.
The researchers took blood samples and tested for inflammation markers.
The results showed that people who experience a wide range of positive emotions are more likely to have low levels of inflammation.
Inflammation is one of the main causes of chronic illness and early death. Researchers conclude that frequently experiencing a wide range of positive emotions leads to a healthier, longer life.
Professor Ong, who led the study, tells THE DAILY MEDITATOIN, “There are many kinds of happiness, and experiencing a diversity of emotional states might reduce a person’s vulnerability to psychopathology by preventing any one emotion from dominating their emotional life.”
The key is to enjoy a wide range of positive emotions.
‘Our findings suggest that depletion or overabundance of positive emotions, in particular, has consequences for the functioning and health of one’s emotional ecosystem.
The 16 Types Of Happiness That Effect Health:
Being at ease
The researchers also listed negative emotions that do not have an effect on health.
The negative emotions that do not effect health are:
How To Experience More Types Of Happiness
People who experience more types of happiness are likely to live longer, happier lives.
To take advantage of this, the researchers recommend monitoring your positive emotions.
‘The simple daily practice of labeling and categorizing good feelings in specific terms may help us experience more differentiated emotions in different contexts,’ says Professor Ong.
When we label our emotions we become more consciously aware of our mental states. This in turn helps us to create more positive emotional states while reducing negative ones.
For thousands of years, monks have practiced a form of meditation called Vipassana (you may have heard of Vipassana retreats, which are meditation retreats specifically dedicate to this technique).
Vipassana is a meditation in which we label different emotions and sensations that occur in the body.
We can use this technique to make us more aware of the different emotions we are experiencing. And then we can intentionally produce alternative types of happiness.
How to monitor our emotions and create more different types of happiness
We’re going to use the research above to create more types of happiness. And we will become aware of which forms of happiness we are missing.
There are two ways to do this. The first (steps 1 – 4 below) is a meditation. The second (step 5 below) is a journal. Use the technique you like best (and always consult a professional before beginning meditation).
1: Try the Buddhist meditation techniques called Vipassana
Vipassana is a Buddhist technique in which we label our emotions. It is an advanced technique (click the link above for a complete guide). Let’s simplify it.
Begin by focusing your mind on your breath. Relax.
Count your breaths up to 10. As you do this, consciously relax. You may continue focusing on your breath until you feel relaxed.
2: Let your body relax
You will know that you are adequately relaxed because the tension in your body will melt like ice under the sun. Be patient. Wait for this relaxation to happen.
3: Be conscious of your mind
Focus consciousness on your mind. Now label your emotional state. If you are feeling calm, label the emotion “calm”.
Continue for twenty minutes, labeling each emotion.
4: Finish meditating and recall your emotions
As you meditate in the way described above, you will experience many different emotions. These emotions will rise and falls quite quickly. One moment you may experience gratitude, then momentary excitement.
Be aware of all the emotions you have experienced throughout this meditation.
5: As an alterative, use a journal
An alternative to the meditation above is to use a journal. Simply list the emotions you experience from morning to night. Or print the list above and tick them off as you experience them.
6: Which emotions did you not experience?
Refer to the list of types of happiness, above?
How many of those types of happiness do you experience in a day? Which ones are missing?
Once you know which emotions you are missing out on, find ways to create them.
Here are some ideas for each of the 16 types of happiness.
Relaxation: Spend a day at the beach (or if there isn’t one nearby, spend a day at the park).
Calmness: Practice Anapanasati Breathing Meditation.
Enthusiasm: Not experiencing enough enthusiasm? Book off one evening this week and schedule something you will truly enjoy.
Interest: Life not interesting? Go to the book store. Pick up whichever book fascinates you the most.
Determination: Find one project that you were unable to complete in the past. Remind yourself why you wanted to get it done. Go do it.
Pride: Write a list of 100 things you are proud of, things you have accomplished in your life.
Attentiveness: Ask to babysit for friends or look after a friend’s pets while they are away. You will be forced to be attentive to their needs.
Happiness: You’ve been sidelining your own pleasure. Time to change that. Do one thing you have always wanted to do.
Cheerfulness: Book a night out with an old friend.
Being at ease: Spend one afternoon somewhere relaxing (beach / garden / meditation studio).
Activeness: Get your yoga pants on and get sweating. Or go for a run.
Excitement: Do something you loved to do when you were a kid.
Amusement: You know that friend who always makes you laugh? Go visit them.
Inspiration: Visit a place of natural beauty.
Alertness: Meditate. (Specifically, practice open monitoring meditation. For a guide, see the first entry in our list of meditation technique in this guide).
Strength: Read our guide to developing mental strength.
The more we embrace positive energy and positive emotions, the healthier we become.
How many different types of happiness do you experience?
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