Some of you may have recently seen this article in your social networks – it already had over 63,000 Facebook shares within a day of being published! The piece is titled “The Habits of Supremely Happy People”, and while it’s too long to post in full here, we encourage you to click HERE and read through it at huffingtonpost.com.
The article’s author Kate Bratskeir highlights 21 habits that people purposefully cultivate to lead happier lives. The topics range from interpersonal connections to immersion in creative activities, but for the purposes of our community on this blog, it was really interesting to see how many of these tie to physical health.
Bratskeir lists prioritizing exercise as a contributor to happiness, describing how it has been shown to ease symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. She also cites a Journal of Health Psychology study on how exercise improves our self-image, regardless of whether we experience actual physical improvements from the exercise. Going for a run can leave you tired in the short-term, but it really clears your head and makes you feel good about how you’re taking care of yourself.
After reading the article, our big question centers around adding a 22nd habit to the list. Can we say that take an active role in our own care contributes to our happiness? Food for thought:
- In our Healthy World report A Fragile Nation in Poor Health, providers reported that they would only give 1 in 20 patients an “A” grade for following treatment plans to the letter. That’s only 5% of us.
- 42% of patients surveyed for the Healthy World report feel they could better follow their prescribed plans if they received encouragement from their doctors between visits. How powerful would that encouragement be if it not only got patients taking recommended actions but also gave them a stronger sense of ownership in their care?
- While many health issues are out of our control as individuals and can’t be prevented, would we have a greater sense of peace knowing we’re at least doing what we can? Taking the proactive measures that will help maintain our well-being?
Happiness is certainly a factor in our health, but is the reverse also true? Is health a habit of happiness?