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Change Your Mindset, Change Your Health.

Can you really be happier just by being happy?

I have to admit, I went down a rabbit hole while researching this topic. It seemed too good to be true. Can one really improve their health just by being happy? All signs point to yes.

This all began a few years ago when I picked up a book on meditation 10 Percent Happier by Dan Harris (ABC News anchor). I went in as a skeptic Fate would have it, he wrote a follow up Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics co-written with Jeff Warren. It just seemed too good to be true. Could you really breathe in happiness? 

I had a talk with a friend on how we’ve lost the ability to just sit and relax. We are always at the will of our smart devices, the likes, the follows on social media, the texts and emails – but are we any happier? And better yet, has this change and our definition of happy influenced our health? I went digging through the Internet. Is there something behind the influence of happy and health? 

Laura Kubzansky, a professor of society, human development, and health at Harvard Medical School, found that as early as the age of 7 can we see the benefits of happiness and health. They tracked 7 year olds for 30 years and found they had fewer illnesses and their optimism cut the risk of coronary heart disease by half. Need an even bigger reason? Lisa Berkman, director of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, co-authored a seminal study of almost 7,000 adults in California. The adults who reported fewer social relationships at the beginning of the survey were more than twice as likely to die over the nine-year follow-up period. 

Jay Shetty, motivational speaker and “urban monk” (you may have seen his YouTube/Facebook videos – they’re highly shared) says:

“We look for happiness in everything outside of us as opposed to inside of us. Happiness is inside out as opposed to outside in” (Vogue India – March 7, 2018).

But how do you turn off that outside world nagging? He shared a few of his tips and some are ones that I’ve included on my own:

  • Invest in time with people that uplift you. Remember, we can’t go this world alone, we do it in community. Whether you prefer the online world of finding groups on social media or in person (like at a bingo hall), make sure you’re getting quality time with other individuals.
  • #RandomActsOfKindness Anyone? Do not go into volunteering or helping someone out with the mentality that you have something to gain. Do this out of the goodness of your own heart.
  • Be in the moment. This is definitely a trigger phrase across social media – try to focus on this mantra “Be where your feet are.” Meaning, just focus on there here and now. Don’t worry about what happened 5 minutes ago or what you have to do 5 minutes from now. Just focus on the here and now.
  • Focus on learning. It can be as easy as reading one to two pages of a book a day. Reading triggers dopamine (the happy hormone) in your brain. 
  • Meditate. Before you do anything in your day, start with the breathing. Get your mind right. Get your gratitude on. There is always something to be thankful for. Can’t think of anything? You’re about to go play bingo and you have that ability to do so.

Smile your way to health this month.

 

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