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What is the connection between health and happiness?

Ronald Siegel
Psychology
"Healthy body, healthy mind" is an old idea buoyed by newer evidence. How you treat your physical body affects your mind and your level of happiness.

Healthy sleep and exercise habits can buoy both mind and body. For example, in a study of working women, getting a good night's sleep made a huge difference in how much women enjoyed all types of activities during the day—far bigger than the influence of income, marital status, religion, or time pressures.

As for exercise, it turns out that many people's lifestyles include a natural depressant: being sedentary. Humans are designed for physical activity, and physical exercise has been shown to enhance well-being and help prevent or significantly reduce anxiety and depression.

In a study published in Psychosomatic Medicine, when 202 people with major depression were randomly assigned to supervised or home exercise programs, the antidepressant sertraline (Zoloft), or a placebo, four months later the exercisers were just as likely to have entered remission as those taking medication.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.