I spent the month of February talking about heart health. That included sharing some heart healthy recipes and talking about a few heart conditions, that may or may not have ben familiar to you. This month, I'll take a different turn but that doesn't mean that I'm not talking about heart health still. This month's topics will be areas of your life that have a direct or indirect impact on your health.
"The purpose of our lives is to be happy" - Dalai Lama
When I hear 'Happy' by Pharrell Williams, I can't help but be in a better mood. Then when you add in some Minions...well, life just gets that much better.
So what does this have to do with heart health?
For several years, science has been making the mind-body connection pertaining to the state of our health. And when we are unhappy, our health can suffer. Whether it's in the way we care for ourselves or the stress it creates in our bodies, poor health and unhappiness are partners in crime.
Conversely, when we are happy we are more likely to make healthier choices, manage our weight better, sleep better and move more. Because of the healthier behaviors, we can keep blood pressure in check, reduce excess body fat and ultimately reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease and other lifestyle related illnesses.
The link between mental and physical health cannot be denied. People who are optimistic and have a positive outlook tend to fare better when faced with health problems than their pessimistic counterparts. Developing an optimistic attitude before health problems reveal themselves may well be preventive. Don't be a person who can find a problem for every solution but rather be the person who can find a solution for every problem.
You can learn to be happy
Positivity is a skill we can learn. We don't have to be born with a naturally sunny disposition. The more we try to find what's right with a situation, the more our brain's filter will give us evidence of it. Our reticular activating system (RAS), is the gatekeeper of all the information that finds its way into our brain. When we expect to find the good stuff by consistently looking for it, the more the RAS will let in the good stuff.
Happiness requires work sometimes. Find ways to be happy. For me, it's spending time with people I can laugh with, who think like me and who get me. I'm not for everybody and neither are you. Find your tribe and stay connected. Do nice things for them. Perform random acts of kindness for strangers too.
I don't always have to be with other people to be happy either because I like my own company. I find happiness in reading, walking in nature, learning a new skill and trying out a new recipe, to name a few things.
The point is...find your happiness. Your health may depend on it.
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