Happiness Matters at Kona Community Hospital

Kona Community Hospital will be hosting a free community presentation “Healthy Pleasures – The New Science of Happiness” with guest speaker, David Sobel, MD, MPH. The educational seminar will take place Monday, October 3 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Kona Community Hospital’s Conference Room 2. Dr. Sobel will lead a lively, humorous and enlightening presentation revolving around the question — During the past month, have you been a happy person? Your answer could predict future health. Positive mood, enjoying your senses and happiness are all linked to our health. At this free event, learn how to apply the new science of happiness to measurably improve your life satisfaction and health.

Imagine a medical treatment that lowers blood pressure, decreases heart disease and cancer risk, boosts immune function, and blocks pain — a treatment that’s safe, inexpensive, readily available, and whose main side effect is that it makes you feel good. It’s not a new miracle drug. These and other benefits appear to come from pleasure itself. And this pleasure prescription is filled in the internal pharmacy of the brain.

Many people think that to promote health they have to undertake strict weight loss diets, adopt punishing exercise programs, avoid salt, shun cholesterol, and follow all sorts of arduous, pleasure-denying regimens. Fortunately, scientific evidence now suggests that for most people doing what is pleasurable actually pays off in both immediate enjoyment and better health. The healthiest, most robust people seem to indulge in many small daily pleasures and cultivate a positive, optimistic view of their lives. So taking a siesta, playing with a pet, talking to a friend, looking at nature, smelling a sweet scent, laughing at a funny movie, going shopping, soaking up the heat of a sauna, taking a vacation, passionately pursuing a hobby, sipping a glass of wine, listening to your favorite music, helping someone in need, thinking optimistically, practicing gratitude, and scores of other healthy pleasures may measurably improve your health.

Health promotion efforts have often emphasized changing unhealthy behaviors. Yet following all the latest behavioral health prescriptions doesn’t necessarily explain or insure health and vitality. Considering the powerful health effects of pleasure might meaningfully enrich our efforts. From sensual delights to selfless pleasures, from optimism to laughter, scientific studies suggest that doing what feels good pays off twice: immediate enjoyment and better health. Happiness Matters.

The entire community is invited to attend this free educational presentation, Monday, October 3, 2011 at Kona Community Hospital’s Conference Room 2 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. A light dinner will be provided. Limited seating is available so please RSVP to 322-6960 or ebryant@hhsc.org.

Dr. Sobel is Medical Director of Regional Health Education for Kaiser Permanente Northern California, a primary care physician, and author of eight books including Healthy Pleasures and The Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Handbook.