“I Made This One Weird Choice Every Morning and Now I’m Healthier and Happier Than Ever.”
“I have chosen to be happy because it’s good for my health.” – Voltaire
Making The Choice To Be Happy
I woke up one morning feeling anxious and unhappy. As I lay there, I thought about a quote I had recently read: “I have chosen to be happy because it’s good for my health.” The author was the famous Enlightenment writer Voltaire. His words stuck with me as I contemplated my mood. I realized that something would have to change if I were to be happy and healthy in life always.
Happiness and Health is a Choice
Was it really possible to make the choice to be happy?
Could a simple decision lead to better health and well-being? As I mulled this over, I realized my usual state of worry and gloom felt awful.
Why not try choosing happiness instead today and see what happens?
Trying the Happiness Experiment
I got up and made a conscious effort to focus on positive things. I felt grateful I had a comfortable bed to sleep in and looked forward to a hot shower and my morning coffee.
I smiled at my husband as we sat down for breakfast. We expressed gratitude for the food we were about to have and gave thanks for having each other and the day ahead.
Outside, the sun shone brightly – another small pleasure. The birds sang as they headed to the bird feeders, the hummingbirds danced as they went to the water fountains to perch for a drink, and our two dogs were healthy, happy, and quiet.
At work, I paid more attention to rewarding experiences. I had interesting chats with my clients and stopped to see my coworkers to see how their day was going and bring a smile to their faces.
After work, my husband made me laugh by telling silly jokes and funny stories about what happened to him that day. That night, I reflected on moments of joy I may have overlooked.
I discovered contentment in ordinary events. By choosing to be happy today, time seemed to pass more enjoyably. It may have been just one successful day, but I knew that if I did this every day, I could be happy and healthy in life always.
Happiness Leads to Better Health
I was curious to understand the research behind Voltaire’s quote, so I did some reading. Study after study showed links between happiness and health.
- Happiness & Health: The Biological Factors
- How happiness affects health
- Health and happiness go hand in hand
The Physical Benefits of Being Happy
Well, happy people have fewer cardiovascular issues and healthier immune systems. Positivity correlates with improved outcomes for diabetes, hypertension, and even the common cold!
One reason is biochemical. Joyful states release “feel-good” chemicals called endorphins. These trigger healthy responses, including reduced inflammation and decreased pain.
In short, evidence shows happiness exerts a profoundly positive influence on overall physical well-being and health.
Fake Smile Real Results
There’s a fascinating study often referred to as the “Facial Feedback Hypothesis.” It was first conceived by Charles Darwin.
Over the years, several researchers have had participants hold a smiling stick (pencil, pen, or chopstick depending on the study) between their teeth, forcing their facial muscles into a smile. They also had a control group that simply held the pencil in their lips with no smile.
Fake it Till Your Brain Makes You Happy.
They found that the people forced to smile reported feeling more genuine happiness and amusement. Brain scans showed their neural activity was indistinguishable from people naturally smiling.
Your Smile Makes You Happy
The takeaway is that even fake smiling can light up your brain’s emotional centers and make you happier. The physical act influences the mind. So you don’t have to wait until a wave of joy comes over you. You can smile first and allow your brain to follow!
It just shows the deep mind-body connection. The simple action of smiling – even a fake smile – can trick your brain into boosting your mood. It’s an easy first step to feel happier right away.
Turn Your Frown Upside Down
Whenever I feel a little down or stressed now, I simply put on a big smile. I immediately feel happier, healthier, and just plain better.
The Mental Health Connection
Happiness also relieves stress, anxiety, and depression. It’s central to emotional well-being. One researcher described cheerfulness as “an emotional sunshine vitamin.”
I saw how choosing happiness could truly transform my physical and mental health.
Happiness as a Daily Practice
Inspired by Voltaire’s wisdom and my remembering the Smile Study, I made happiness a daily practice. Now, each morning, I consciously adopt a bright mood.
During the day, I frequently pause for a happy moment filled with gratitude and a smile. I also exercise, connect with loved ones, and do little things that spark joy.
These positive choices reduced my stress. Now, I get sick less often and feel more resilient in dealing with life’s inevitable difficulties. Boosting my happiness boosted my whole sense of well-being.
Often, I reflect on Voltaire’s quote: “I have chosen to be happy because it’s good for my health.”
It turned out to be excellent advice. I invite you to try it, too! Choosing happiness could be the healthiest decision you make today.
My Wish For You
I hope you will use your smile to release stress and find Health through Happiness and Happiness through Health.
Make it your mission to help someone find their smile and their health today. But first, start in the mirror with you!+
Will you do it?
May you be Happy and Healthy Always!