Want to Ward Off Heart Disease? Be Happy!
Happiness makes the heart grow fonder
Several studies have found that people with a sunny view on life had lower risk of heart disease than those with their heads hung low. Unfortunately, the studies only showed a link, so more clinical trials are underway to determine whether a positive attitude actually causes better heart health.
Doctors may not be writing out prescriptions for happiness anytime soon, but health experts believe that generally happy people are healthier both mentally and physically. These positive thinkers tend to deal with stress better, get more sleep, and are more health-conscious then their glass-half-empty peers-all of which contribute to a healthy heart. The positive connection makes sense given that cardiovascular disease and major depression have long been associated.
C’mon get happy!
Even if happiness has yet to be officially proven for heart health, it certainly can’t hurt. Many researchers feel every moment of happiness counts-especially since it’s been shown to lead to lower levels of stress-inducing chemicals, like cortisol. (Cortisol has been related to abdominal obesity, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, as well as autoimmune disorders.)
10 steps toward your pursuit of happiness
1.) Let it out – Don’t let pent up frustrations fester. Shut the door, scream, hit a pillow, cry – whatever it takes to release that negative mojo.
2.) Say no – You have enough on your plate. It’s okay to say no once in awhile to save your sanity.
3.) Go all out – Sometimes you have to splurge on yourself-get some pampering, take an art class, go to the gym, turn off the phone and have a “me” day.
4.) Look in the mirror and smile – Don’t dwell on that new wrinkle or gray hair. Take a good look and say one nice thing about yourself.
5.) Declare a Mental Health Day – Write it on your calendar, make it official, and enjoy doing absolutely nothing.
6.) Laugh out loud – It will raise your “feel-good” hormones and lower production of stress hormones. Plus, laughter is contagious, so you’ll be helping others improve their health too!
7.) Get your zzz’s – Sleep does wonders to brighten your mood. Catch a quick cat nap or hit the hay early tonight and wake up refreshed and in better spirits.
8.) No news is good – The nightly news can be depressing. Turn it off for a week and see how you feel without all the gloom and doom.
9.) Volunteer – Helping others in need helps put your own life in perspective. Plus, your good deed will undoubtedly make someone else’s day.
10.) Eat cake – You can’t deprive yourself all the time. One small slice never killed anyone. So have your cake and eat it too!
When life hands you lemons…
It’s easy to get sucked into anger, frustration and sadness when you’re dealt some of life’s lemons. But you know what they say, make that lemonade and serve it up with a smile. You’re heart will thank you.