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The Surprising Benefits Of Being Happy

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Illustrated by Julia Sadler.
Being happy sounds pretty great on its own, and, according to a new infographic from happiness-app makers Happify, being happy is also associated with a ton of health benefits. 

As the graphic notes, there's some research to suggest that people who have a more positive outlook are less likely to get sick after being exposed to flu and cold viruses. And, a recent study suggested that getting a hug from a loved one can also fight off viruses such as the common cold.

Those who rate higher on certain positive personality traits have lower rates of certain illnesses. For instance, one study found that people who were more agreeable, extraverted, open, and conscientious all had lower risks of developing illnesses such as cancer and diabetes. The researchers found that conscientiousness in particular could have a protective effect against health problems.

Of course, some of these findings are correlational, so we don't know which way the trend is going. It could be that being happier actually does make people healthier, or that being healthy makes it easier to be happy, or (more likely) a bit of both. Plus, things like having social support can help us make it through tough times — emotionally and physically.

One way to improve both your physical health and your outlook is through meditation, which can help reduce stress and physical pain. For other tips, check out the full infographic below. 

Image: Courtesy of Happify.
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