Are you happy and it shows? New research says yes. More than 3,000 participants aged 60 and older were assessed for their self-reported level of happiness and ability to perform daily activities such as bathing or getting dressed, along with their walking speed. Researchers found those reporting a low sense of well-being were more than three times more likely to have problems performing daily tasks. Additionally, results of the study found an association with overall enjoyment of life and a decreased risk of disability or loss of mobility in the future.
However, authors of the study warn their findings do not support the theory that happier people are healthier and that is why they are happier. "This is not because the happier people are in better health, or younger, or richer, or have more healthy lifestyles at the outset, since even when we take these factors into account, the relationship persists,” says co-author Dr. Steptoe. “Our previous work has shown that older people with greater enjoyment of life are more likely to survive over the next 8 years; what this study shows is that they also keep up better physical function."
While a sunny disposition may be more natural for some than others, taking steps to improve our overall emotional well-being can lead to a happier and healthier life. Here are some ways to boost your sense of well-being:
Contribute through work or volunteerism.
Engage in sports or regular exercise.
Enjoy the arts – photography, theater, poetry, music.
Live in a supportive environment.
Keep a gratitude journal.
Explore new hobbies.
Would you like to enjoy the company of good friends, good food and free seminars discussing ways to improve your health in your community? Silver Elite is a free program for adults 60 and older offering health seminars, fun activities and in-hospital benefits to members. To learn more please click here or call 918-579-6060.