Stress weakens our immune system. A non-stressful life allows our immune system to do its job – protect us from harm. Health and life expectancy are influenced by our happiness. Does happiness cure disease? Most likely not, but it can shorten the duration. Does happiness prevent us from getting sick? I believe it helps to strengthen our immune system; and, as a result, improves our overall immunity from disease.
It is not what has happened to you. It is how you accept and adapt to it. There are some special cases, such as:
● Chronic neglect
● Living with a parent who is an alcoholic
● Living with a parent who is suffering severe mental illness
Studies show that children exposed to these special cases were harmed mentally and/or physically. In their adult years, their stress response threshold was much lower than children without similar environmental situations.
Again, what has happened, has happened. You don’t have to live in the past. Viktor Frankl said, “The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”
He also has an interesting quote on happiness, “Don’t aim at success – the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to the cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen…”
Obviously, he endured and saw a lot of suffering, including people giving up on life in the concentration camps during World War II. He died at the age of 92, after experiencing some of the worst examples of human cruelty in history.
I remember reading a story about the Danes (from Denmark) being the happiest people on earth. They are active people, generally married and healthier than their neighbors. They live their lives in the present tense – today. But, their expectations of the future are very low. So, if today is better than expected, then automatically, they are happy. That’s a difficult way to look at the world. Expect little to nothing – get a little something – and be happy about it.