Discuss how happiness can influence psychological well-being and health. 15 marks [CSE-2015 ]

Model answer by Arun Kumar, Mentor Beautiful Mind-IAS

    1. Happiness is both an indicator and determinant of psychological well being. Psychological well being means mentally as well as behaviourally person is healthy.  The ways, an individual thinks and behaves, are heavily influenced by his feelings of happiness or sadness. Research findings on depression show that due to various reasons when an individual is depressed, he is not a able to think coherently and behave adaptively. His psychological well-being is severely limited. He may not judge social responses and may overreact.(Lazarus). Emotions, when out of control, keeps the individual aroused and thus create vulnerability for maladaptive behavior. Too much negativity due to stress for example motivates people to use drugs and alcohol. Behaviourally speaking, drugs and alcohol like substance negatively reinforce such tendencies and thus may create addiction ( Solomon).
    2. WHO health reports repeatedly reveal the strong  reciprocal link between health and happiness. Happy people care for their health issues more whereas negativity makes people ignorant. The outcome is that happy people manage their health which in turn reinforce their happiness. And happiness in turn affect the overall satisfaction in life( indicator of psychological well being). The recent happiness index estimation by WHO underscores that it’s health and other factors ( not just money and economic development) that determine happiness. Otherwise Pakistan and several African countries won’t have found better rank than India on happiness dimension. Social Security, trust along with per capita income influence happiness.
    3. Medical research shows that rate of recovery of the patients with cheerful temperament , other things being equal, is far better than the less cheerful and melancholic patients. This shows the link of health and happiness.

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