The state of happiness affects one’s health and the state of health is reflected in life insurance policy coverage and rates. Yes, it is as easy as that and has been researched and proven. But how is this possible, how does this happen, and what can one do now to follow this simple math equation?
Joy and satisfaction are two positive emotions from which happiness is felt, created, and defined. Being happy as a whole, not just for short spurts of time, has much to do with the lifestyle chosen or created – people’s environment, nutrition, activities, and their body’s state. Turns out, the happier people are the more they are aware and in control of their lifestyle and, for the most part, act to drive for even better results. This in turn leads to better nutrition, more exercise, more friends and family get-togethers, and less stress overall.
Recent studies show that people attempt to find happiness by doing good for others, doing things they are good at, and doing things that are good for them. Besides, those who are optimistic are the happiest overall. Happiness is also linked to one’s relationships and even to their place of employment and occupation.
This ‘happiness’ factor touches upon so many aspects of life, there’s no escaping it shaping the body’s physical well-being.
How does happiness drive better health?
To understand how the mental state can create actions that promote physical strength, vigor, and fitness, check out these facts:
- Over 7,000 ‘happy’ adults, those with a positive well-being were almost 50% more likely to choose and eat fresh produce than those defining themselves ‘less positive’.
- Of these same participants, 33% were more likely to exercise and keep moving with 10 more hours weekly of physical activity.
- Consuming fresh produce, specifically fruits and vegetables has been shown by research to lower diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
- A study of 700 adults showed that sleep problems were almost 50% higher in those with ‘less positively’. Research has shown that good sleep habits improve productivity, physical activity performance, and even mainly your ideal weight.
- Being happy can help maintain health and a strong immune system, reducing the risk of infections. In a study with 80 university students, after being given a hepatitis B vaccine, those happier were almost twice as likely to develop a high antibody response.
- A study of over 6,000 people over the age of 65 linked happiness to almost 10% lower risk of high blood pressure.
- Being happy has been scientifically shown to lower by 20% the risk of heart disease. (A study done over a 10 year period).
- In a long-term study, surveying 32,000 adults, the risk of death, over 30 years, was 14% higher in unhappy individuals. This link to happiness may be a result of the participant’s life outlook and attitude towards physical activity, sleep habits, and not smoking.
The 5 pillars to better well-being
Numerous more studies have been done and are still in the process as the link of physical well-being to mental well-being indeed exists. Researchers are both looking at the body as a whole and its overall welfare as well as focusing on singular diseases and even specific organs and their condition.
So what are the 5 pillars for leading a happier, and hence healthier life?
- Movement: Exercise, physical activity, or just moving around plays a key role in one’s health. Today, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of aerobic physical activity for adults each week. It’s not necessary to dive right into Marathon training, but walks around the neighborhood, a family bike ride, or even following and practicing yoga videos on youtube can do the job.
- Nutrition: This is not news. The effect food has on the physical body is immense. Too much sugar leads to excess weight gain, resulting in obesity and diabetes and the consumption of too much fat leads to clogged arteries. But aside from direct links to the body’s physical condition, consumption habits can affect the mood and mind, for example, blood sugar spiking changes the mood and energy levels for short spurts of time leading to feeling ‘low’ and ‘down’. To maintain normal and good levels of temperament, protein and food high in fiber can do the job.
- Sleep: Research has shown that adequate sleep reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, improves memory, and creates a better disposition consistently. Despite achieving more than 6 hours of sleep each night, adults usually need at least 7-9 hours to be well-rested and stay healthy.
- Re-energize: Doing what feels good. This is more of a mindset of wellness and an overall perspective in life. Knowing when to say ‘no’ when overwhelmed or pulled in too many directions beyond one’s capabilities is key. Also, disconnecting from social media and stepping outdoors to take deep breaths to calm down and enjoy the fresh air. Making a plan for weekly time-outs for self-care and mentally re-energize is recommended.
- Balance: Learning how to balance food consumption, exercise, adequate sleep, and having a positive outlook on life is key. This is not an easy task but an important one in order to pay attention and take care of your body and mind.
Also, practicing the following to remove barriers limiting happiness and taking control of life choices and acknowledging what works has been shown to improve the quality of life:
- Kindness. Acts of kindness and generosity make others happy and provide a sense of well-being.
- Attentiveness. Listening skills lead to better focus and thus positivity.
- Seeing the glass half full. Having a positive outlook allows one to see the good in people and experiences.
- Bouncing back. Navigate ahead from adversity, leaving it behind.
This transformation and focus on the 5 pillars does not happen instantly and should be implemented gradually into a timely routine. However, as long as there is persistence and step by step implementation, over time people start to feel better, have a more positive outlook on life, and even look better. This is a long-term journey, not one without obstacles.
How do happiness and health allow better rates on life insurance?
With the right tools for happiness and health improvement, it’s important to examine how and what health factors impact life insurance applications, approval rates, and policy coverage and rates.
Life insurance companies zero-in on an applicant’s health when reviewing what policies and coverage they can offer to meet their capabilities and the applicant’s needs. By having or creating a healthier lifestyle one does have some control over their life insurance premiums.
What health factors influence life insurance coverage
- Health conditions are key to determining life insurance packages. Predominantly, the following medical conditions: Asthma, diabetes, heart conditions, mental health conditions, and sleep apnoea are major factors to the options at hand. Many times the severity of these conditions can be reduced, or even eliminated, leading to lower premiums.
- Height and weight are key factors for insurance providers. This is in order to determine the applicant’s Body Mass Index (BMI), an underwriter’s important factor considering acceptance of life insurance applicants. BMI is a measure of weight with respect to height. The BMI number is not necessarily an important factor here, but the health risks that usually accompany those with BMI outside the healthy BMI ranges.
- Alcohol consumption is scrutinized as well by life insurance carriers. The carriers see this as a high likelihood of liver damage hence a shorter life expectancy.
- Carriers will review your current hobbies and extracurricular activities and assess them on a scale – from extreme or high risk, like rock climbing and paragliding that could lead to injury or death, to jogging or community service volunteering that allows you to maintain good health and better overall well-being.
Life insurance carriers also look at the following:
- The applicant’s family’s medical history
- If the applicant has any dangerous hobbies, like rock climbing, that may result in severe injury or even death.
- Age and gender, of course.
Different life insurance carriers may have different criteria for approval or denial and the variety of coverage options they can offer to each person, based on their health, mental well-being, and lifestyle. This is the reason that shopping for life insurance can make a big difference between approval, denial, good deals, and expensive policies.
Sproutt online life insurance is one company trying to sort through all this information to find policies matching people with their needs, current health, and well-being, where happiness is a key factor. Sproutt even has online questionnaires for applicants to candidly share their personal information and receive feedback quickly from life insurance carriers.
People say happiness is key to life. In this case, happiness is key for life insurance. Staying positive and having a great outlook on life will aid in better health allowing great options and rates for life insurance coverage, premiums, and carriers.
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