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Happy Mind Healthy Body

Harvard Professor, Laura Kubzansky, from the Harvard School of Public Health is not like any other professor… She researches the art of Happiness. Here presented are just a few pieces of her research which might give you something to take away:

• In a study in a 2007, which included 6,000 men and women aged between 25 to 74 years over 20 years, it was found that those of who had emotional vitality—a sense of enthusiasm, of hopefulness, of engagement in life, and the ability to face life’s stresses with emotional balance—appeared to have reduced the risk of coronary heart disease. This was supported by the fact that such people also tended not to be smokers and participated in regular exercise.

• Kubzansky has also shown that children who are able to stay focused on a task and have a more positive outlook at age 7 report better general health and fewer illnesses 30 years later. She has found that optimism also cuts the risk of coronary heart disease by half.

• Psychological states such as anxiety or depression—or happiness and optimism—are forged by both nature and nurture. “They are 40–50 percent heritable, which means you may be born with the genetic predisposition. But this also suggests there is a lot of room to maneuver.” Thus Leaving the remaining 50-60% of your happiness completely up to you.

• “Seventy to 80 percent of heart attacks in this country occur not because of genetics or through some mysterious causative factors, but rather it’s through lifestyle choices people make: diet, smoking, exercise. The most part of the reason is from an unhealthy lifestyle, of which an unhappy lifestyle can certainly contribute.’’

• Other research suggests that certain personal attributes—whether inborn or shaped by positive life circumstances—help some people avoid or healthfully manage diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and depression. Such attributes include:

o Emotional vitality: a sense of enthusiasm, hopefulness, engagement

o Optimism: the perspective that good things will happen, and that one’s actions account for the good things that occur in life

o Supportive networks of family and friends

o Being good at “self-regulation,” i.e. bouncing back from stressful challenges and knowing that things will eventually look up again; choosing healthy behaviors such as physical activity and eating well; and avoiding risky behaviors such as unsafe sex, drinking alcohol to excess, and regular overeating.

In conclusion…

We may not have scientific proof that happiness and good health come hand in hand, but what we certainly have is a lot of research that indicates that a happy lifestyle is healthy one.