Saturday, 30 July 2011

The importance of happiness

At Infectious Diseases it has been asked at times about how things are going overall, and how I'm feeling. Although they're doctors and primarily concerned with the medical aspect of my health, they say that being happy and emotionally positive helps a lot with my medical condition. I've not particularly thought about this much at all, other than simply a notion about mental health and energy; being able to get up for work and participate in life better. 

But after a bit of a look online, it seems being happy goes much further than simply energy levels. It appears to have a direct effect on your physical health as well. Some note in articles that much has been written about the detrimental effects of negative emotions like depression and sadness, but not a hell of a lot about the health benefits of being happy. Of course having a condition such as HIV means this is of much interest to me. Even more so given the horrible mental states I've had to endure in recent years. 

I found this article a good one to read about it:
Findings from a growing body of research suggest that
positive emotions may be a key factor
to sustaining health, including cardiovascular
health, as we age.

Now I'm wondering if perhaps my focus has been slightly askew. Perhaps it would be better to actively pursue the whole idea of being happy, as opposed to avoiding depression? The above article gives some interesting pointers that could make small differences in that direction. Certainly something to think about.

It can be, of course, very depressing having HIV. Yet should that stop me from finding happiness? In fact being depressed about HIV will in turn speed the progression of the disease.

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