Doesn’t “happiness research” sound like a great field?
A recent piece in the Atlantic highlights Steven Cole at UCLA who has been researching how hedonic happiness (eg: the happiness you get from an experience like buying a new house) and eudaimonic happiness (the happiness you get from “purpose and direction in life, our involvement in something bigger than ourselves“) affect us on the cellular and molecular level.
The short-hand? “Of the two, eudaimonic happiness in particular is associated with a better-functioning immune system.”
And how might we cultivate eudaimonic happiness? “One way is through mind-body practices, like meditation, which “have been shown to cultivate positive and happy immune cells,” he says.
You guys! This is exciting. What we love about this research, is that mindfulness practices can be a very low-cost way to improve your immune cells. And that makes feel all Pharrell Williams inside:
It’s also worth noting how long these benefits might hang around: “The experience you have today will influence your body composition for the next 80 days, because that’s how long most cellular processes hang around,” Cole says. “So plan your day accordingly.”
Photo by Betty Nudler/ flickr.