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The book of Proverbs is a collection of collections relating to a pattern of life in biblical wisdom tradition that raises questions of objective moral values and duties



The full quote reads "A cheerful heart is good medicine /works healing, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones"

I find this supposedly 3000-year old statement to be really intriguing with its correlation between emotions and physical health, as there is a growing amount of scientific research to back up this idea



So to take a closer look into this, I have prepared 3 elements:
Understand the impact of stress on your body
Undo your negative bias
Re-define your success formula



So what happens when we are stressed?
A physiological stress response takes place:

Adrenaline and Cortisol hormones are released from your stress centre,

and your thyroid, breathing, heart-rate, blood pressure and digestion are also impacted



Science is showing us that your emotions are actually energy in motion - chemical reactions in your body

When our energy is resistant because of fear-based emotions, it triggers this physiological stress response, and so you have this cascade of chemicals that overrun your adrenal glands and increase the risk of chronic pain and illness,



But if stress is related to sickness, could the opposite be true?
A recent study found that positive emotions such as love, joy, generosity, gratitude and wonder had the opposite effect - low levels of these inflammatory proteins were found in those carrying these positive emotions.



More studies on happiness showed
generous people = fewer health problems,
grateful people = enhanced quality of sleep,
decrease anxiety and depression
increase self-esteem
Laughter endorphin's 500 x more effective than morphine

If most of us agree that stress impacts our health, why do we still seem to struggle with it so much?



One reason might have something to do with what is known as the "Negative Bias"
Because of this Inbuilt will to survive,
More attentive to the negative than the positive. Negative events are 3x more powerful than positive
Media industry - "if it bleeds, it leads"



But ironically, we experience positive emotions much more often than negative ones in our everyday lives,
But largely due to this negative bias we actually need about 5 times more positive stimulus to counteract the negative bias that we are prone to overemphasize.



Anias Nin" We don't see the world the way it is, we see it as we are"
Not reality that shapes you, but the lens through which you see the world that shapes your reality
Change the lens, change your happiness,
90% of your happiness is actually predicted by the way that your brain processes the world



What is one way we can help counteract the negative bais?
Reverse the success formula:
".. that if I work harder, I will be more successful and if I am more successful I will be happier."

This under-girds much of our culture - the way we lead, the way we parent and how we motivate our behaviour.



But its Scientifically broken and backward, because -

Everytime you have a success experience, your brain moves the goal posts to what success really looks like
- so if happiness is on the other side of success, your never get there.

In fact, our brains work in the opposite direction.
if you raise your happiness levels in the present, your brain experiences what is called a "happiness advantage"
That is to say that your brain, when positive performs significantly better than it does when it is neutral, negative or stressed.



Your brain at positive is -

31% more productive than at negative neutral or stressed,

Dopamine doesn't only make you happier, it turns on all the learning centres in your brain, allowing yourself to adapt to the world in a different way, and maybe this is why

Studies have found that 75% of job success is related to optimism levels, social support and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of a threat, and only 25% related to IQ,

so this happiness advantage is something that we should all take advantage of in our day to day work.


So lets wrap up with a few take-aways for what we can do to maintain a happy heart

- our body doesnt lie - be aware of your physiological stress response
- counteract the negative bias with 5 x more positive stimulus
- redefine success with the happiness advantage in the present.

Remember the full proverb earlier?
there are some points which seem to back up Solomons Happy heart medicine, but what about the drying of the bones?

In a recent 1100 person 10-year study it was found that those who increased their life satisfaction showed improvements in bone density..

Happy hearts and strong bones -
Perhaps our controversial King Solomon was onto something here 3000 years ago?

thank you