• Joanna Pudil, LCSW-R

The Importance of Joy

This past weekend I was walking down the street. All of a sudden I heard beautiful singing. I was lured in by the beauty of the song. I was also mystified at the same time. I had not heard music being sung on a street corner in 1 year due to the pandemic. I quickly looked around to see the source of the singing. I spotted a large group of people gather across the street and realized that they were transfixed like myself. We were all enjoying this magical moment. As I listened, I started to feel amazing sensations throughout my body. This made me think about how this moment of joy was affecting my body and my health. Was I improving my health while enjoying this beautiful musical moment? The answer was, Yes!!


There is significant research on how joy and happiness can affect our health and mental health. Happiness and good health go hand and hand. Here are the proven benefits:


1. Protecting our Hearts

Happiness lowers heart rate and blood pressure. Our hearts even beat at a better rate when we are happy or experiencing joy. It can reduce the development of coronary heart disease.


2. Immune system

People who are happier or experience joy have a stronger immune system. There was a

study in which people were exposed to the common cold. Those that experienced

positive feelings were less likely to get sick.


3. Stress levels

Stress triggers biological changes in our hormones and blood pressure. Happiness and

joy temper these effects and can help us recover more quickly by reducing the stress

hormone cortisol.


4. Reduce aches and pains

Positive emotions can mitigate pain. Studies have found that positive emotions can

decrease pain levels. Yes, laughter is the best medicine.


5. Lengthen our lives

Studies have shown that happier people are 35% less likely to live longer than their

unhappier counterparts.


6. Our brain (of course I couldn’t leave this out)

When we are happy our brains release serotonin and dopamine. The happy chemicals in

our brains. The higher the serotonin level the more feelings of well-being, confidence, and belonging. Dopamine is our reward chemical to helps us feel invigorated and energized.


I want you all to take a moment every day to feel joy and happiness. This doesn’t have to take a long time or be a part of an elaborate plan. Just do something simple. Your body will thank you.


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