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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Studies have shown happiness can not only affect your mental well-being, but also your physical health.
Now, doctors in Philadelphia are putting the science to the test, teaching classes in the community on how to achieve happiness.
CBS’s Kenneth Craig got a look inside the pilot program and spoke with students who believe it is already paying off.
At 69 years old and newly retired, Karen Asper Jordan found herself in s slump. So when she saw a Facebook post advertising a class that could help her out, she didn’t hesitate.
“I just saw the word ‘happy.’ ‘A Happier You.’ And it just made me smile, and I said, ‘This is what I need,’” Jordan said.
At the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Jordan is part of a workshop-style course on happiness.
Dr. Scott Glassman is teaching his students to approach happiness as a learned skill, rather than a fleeting emotion.
“The question really shouldn’t be, ‘Are you the kind of person that sees the glass as half-empty or half-full?’” Dr. Glassman said. “The question we should be asking is, ‘How long, how closely, how consistently are you looking at the half-full part?'”
Participants discuss different ways they find happiness in their lives, gratitude for those moments and the humor in it all. Students get homework that includes scheduling meaningful activities or writing a letter of thanks to a special person.
It is all rooted in the evidence-based field of positive psychology.
“They’re able to feel a greater sense of well-being and life satisfaction,” Dr. Glassman said.
Previous studies show happiness can also impact physical health, including cardiovascular benefits and boosting immune system.
“Yeah I do feel it,” Jordan said. “And it’s made me feel better.”