Joy, Pain and Your Body
When you last felt true joy, how did your body feel? Did you feel any pain? Did you notice the ache in your back or your tired feet? Probably not. But if you did, the pain was certainly blunted by the joy coursing through your body and psyche.
Speaking of your body, it can't tell the difference between fake laughter and real laughter. And since it can respond physiologically to inauthentic laughter with the release of endorphins and dopamine and other morphine-like "happy chemicals", doesn't it then figure that even imagined joy might have a positive effect on your health?
The amygdala, a small organ in the brain that processes your emotional responses, cannot differentiate between imagined pain and tragedy or that which occurs in real life. So, if you imagine something horrible, your amygdala will trigger a "fight or flight" response, and cortisol and other stress hormones will be released into your body. Thus, since diabetes and other diseases are directly impacted by cortisol and stress-induced inflammation, the power of your mind to improve your health is enormous.
Feed Your Body Joy
Since the mind-body connection is so very clear and completely irrefutable based on excellent scientific data and observation, it tells us that experiencing more joy and happiness is a very good idea.
Happy people apparently get fewer colds, live longer, and are generally healthier than the rest of the population. Now, there are always exceptions to the rules---we all likely know very happy people who have died from cancer, and very grumpy people who've lived to old age. However, this doesn't erase the science that demonstrates clearly that happiness and health go hand in hand.
And even if your life isn't lengthened by feeling and experiencing more joy, isn't quality more important than quantity, anyway?
Joy is where it's at when it comes to maintaining a healthy body, mind, and spirit. Seeking joyful experiences and proactively cultivating more joy in your life is simply too good an idea to deny.
So go ahead. Feed yourself some joy. Your body and health will respond in so many positive ways!