[Paleopsych] BH: Happiness Is Good Biological Functioning

Premise Checker checker at panix.com
Mon May 2 16:20:37 UTC 2005

Happiness Is Good Biological Functioning

    Betterhumans Staff
    4/18/2005 4:04 PM

    Smiling Girl

    Credit: Wolfgang Lienbacher

    Healthy smile: Happier people are healthier people, suggests a new

    Happiness, apparently, is good biological functioning.

    So suggests a study by researchers from [8]University College London,
    who found that happier people have several markers of a healthy body,
    such as those relating to the cardiovascular system and those
    controlling hormone levels.

    "It has been suggested that positive affective states are protective,
    but the pathways through which such effects might be mediated are
    poorly understood," the researchers say. "Here we show that positive
    affect in middle-aged men and women is associated with reduced
    neuroendocrine, inflammatory, and cardiovascular activity."

    Key systems

    In 200 middle-aged Londoners, [9]Andrew Steptoe and colleagues found
    that participants who reported more everyday happiness had better
    biological function in a few key systems.

    Happier people, for example, had lower levels of the stress hormone
    [10]cortisol, which has been linked to such conditions as type 2
    diabetes and hypertension.

    They also had lower responses to stress in plasma [11]fibrinogen
    levels. In high concentrations, fibrinogen can indicate a risk of
    coronary heart disease.

    Happy men also had lower heart rates over the day and evening,
    suggesting that they had good cardiovascular health.

    Steptoe and colleagues found that their results were independent of
    psychological distress, implying that good well-being is directly
    linked to health-related biological processes.

    The research is reported in the [12]Proceedings of the National
    Academy of Sciences ([13]read abstract).


    8. http://www.ucl.ac.uk/
    9. http://www.ucl.ac.uk/epidemiology/staff/steptoe.html
   10. http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/cortisol
   11. http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/fibrinogen
   12. http://www.pnas.org/
   13. http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0409174102

More information about the paleopsych mailing list