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Health For Happiness, Not Wealth

Jan 31, 2008
Next time you are filling in applications for life insurance quotes, don't forget to mention how happy you are. Sounds silly, I know, but it makes a marked difference to your health now and in the future.

My children and I have just been through one of the most horrible years we have had for a long time. We lived sod's law. Anything that could go wrong, went wrong. Trouble was at our door - before we were evicted, that is. That was after the job loss and before we got moved from pillar to post in temporary accommodation.

Stress levels were unbelievably high. My teenager began to go off the rails because he was so unsettled, although I did manage to reign him back in. Finances were in a dire state and there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

Still living in appalling conditions in temporary housing, Christmas was looming. This was my grandson's first Christmas and I so wanted to make it a good one, as well as doing my best for my own children to cheer them up. Despite getting a new job, it was taking longer than expected to catch up financially and the Christmas present pile was pathetically small.

This was getting me down and I took my 12 year old son for a visit to his grandparents to get out of the situation for a while. On the way home in the car, completely out of the blue, he said something to me that made so much difference I will never forget it.
He said 'With all that we've been through this year, I don't need Christmas presents. We have our family all together and we're all healthy.'

In this day and age, where the latest computer game makes or breaks a child's status at school, this was a profound statement. And it led me to thinking about what truly makes a person happy.

When applying for life insurance quotes, companies will ask whether or not you smoke but will they ask how you rate your general mood? Of course, it will alter depending on circumstances but are you an optimist or pessimist? The affect of happiness on your health can make as much difference as whether or not you smoke.

Being happy does not cure illnesses but can help in the prevention of them. Laughing and smiling, even when faked, will have chemicals racing into your bloodstream that fight illness, bolster your immune system and help fight aging. No-one looks as old as when they are miserable.

Conversely, stress, sadness and depression will cause a marked downturn in health. They will suppress the immune system, making you more susceptible to all manner of germs, as well as increasing your blood pressure and having a detrimental effect on your health.

Nobody is claiming that a happy disposition will prevent you from getting cancer but avid alternative health gurus will be able to site numerous occasions where a sufferer has recovered so much quicker than one with a morbid outlook. Although this is well documented, there is no scientific explanation as to how it works. Who really cares how it works, as long as it does?

In studies carried out across the globe, it is a universal fact that money does not make people happy. Of course, it can ease pressures but also brings its own problems. The happiest people are those content with their lot, who can lose themselves in everyday activities. It always pays to know your abilities, to push your boundaries so that you are mentally stretched, but not to push yourself to a limit where you feel under undue pressure and disappointed with things you may not have achieved.

Happy people are those surrounded by friends and family much of the time, but who know themselves well enough to be able to take time out. Of course, some of your cheer level will come down to genetics and upbringing but this can always be actively worked on.

Materialism is never a happiness inducing trait. It makes you dissatisfied with your lot in life and envious of other people. Both poisonous to the state of your health. Even lottery winners report only a temporary lift in mood.

Gratitude for what we have is an important aspect to keeping us happy as well as forgiveness. Holding on to the wrongs done to us can eat away at us causing untold health problems.

When forecasting our own lives and the possible ways it could go, we have a tendency to blow things out of proportion. However, humans are very good at adapting to new situations and while we do need to feel a degree of control over our circumstances, 'going with the flow' has definite advantages.

Self esteem and the feeling that however mundane your daily activities may be, they are worthwhile, is essential to well being and happiness. This shows us how we can make a difference in other people's lives. The saying that a little kindness goes a long way is not without substance.

So, next time you apply for a life insurance quote don't forget to tell them how positive you are feeling, how you have happy chemicals coursing through your veins, protecting you from all sorts of life threatening ills and ailments, how you intend to live a long and happy life.

With any luck, this will have your life insurance quotes plummeting but I suspect a lot more research will need to prove this theory before they drop their prices by which time they will come up with something to protect their premiums.
About the Author
Insurance expert Catherine Harvey looks at what makes people happy and how this should alter life insurance quotes in the future. To find out more please visit http://www.theidol.com/
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