Feeling happy is just as important to optimal health as eating and sleeping well. In fact, happiness is so health giving, it can extend your life.
When Dutch researchers analyzed 30 studies on happiness and longevity, they found that happy folks lived 10-40% longer than others. They called the effect of happiness on longevity "remarkably strong."
And more good news? Being happy can help you heal. So you will actually want to live longer.
Feel All Your Feelings Without Resistance
If you don't truly feel whatever you're feeling, two things can happen.
You get stuck. A feeling stays with you until you actually feel it. If you don't feel your anger, for example, you may find yourself simmering for decades. And if you're like most people, you'll think that anger is caused by the stressful situations that life delivers every day. But what's actually happening is that your suppressed anger has accumulated into a giant reservoir that spills out into your thoughts and feelings at the slightest provocation.
You turn mountains into molehills. After a bout of anger and sorrow, your psyche automatically helps itself, regaining its natural state of happiness and ease. But when you deny a feeling, your psyche magnifies it, to make it bigger and clearer to you, so you'll feel it and be done with it. If you keep denying the feeling, it grows bigger and bigger: blues turn into chronic depression…angers turns into a constant attitude of hostility…worry turns into anxiety and panic.
How do you know when you're done with a feeling? Well, it actually feels good to fully feel anger or sorrow or fear — that's why we call a session of much-needed, unrestrained sobbing a "good cry."
And who hasn't experienced the joy of a good, self-righteous hissy fit? On the other hand, when it no longer feels good to feel sad or angry — which is how you can tell when the feeling has been fully experienced — you're done.
Time to move on.
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