Tag Archive | Sleep

10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier Science Proves

10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier Science Proves

***Reposters Note*** Thank You to riseearth.com and bufferapp.com for the information in this post. Happiness is something most of us would choose more of in our lives. Here are some ways to make that choice more of a reality in your life experience. Enjoy.***

Happiness is so interesting, because we all have different ideas about what it is and how to get it.

I would love to be happier, as I’m sure most people would, so I thought it would be interesting to find some ways to become a happier person that are actually backed up by science. Here are ten of the best ones I found.

1. Exercise more – 7 minutes might be enough

You might have seen some talk recently about the scientific 7 minute workout mentioned in The New York Times. So if you thought exercise was something you didn’t have time for, maybe you can fit it in after all.

happiness Exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it’s actually been proven to be an effective strategy for overcoming depression. In a study cited in Shawn Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage, three groups of patients treated their depression with either medication, exercise, or a combination of the two. The results of this study really surprised me. Although all three groups experienced similar improvements in their happiness levels to begin with, the follow up assessments proved to be radically different:

The groups were then tested six months later to assess their relapse rate. Of those who had taken the medication alone, 38 percent had slipped back into depression. Those in the combination group were doing only slightly better, with a 31 percent relapse rate. The biggest shock, though, came from the exercise group: Their relapse rate was only 9 percent!

You don’t have to be depressed to gain benefit from exercise, though. It can help you to relax, increase your brain power and even improve your body image, even if you don’t lose any weight.

A study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people who exercised felt better about their bodies, even when they saw no physical changes:

Body weight, shape and body image were assessed in 16 males and 18 females before and after both 6 × 40 mins exercise and 6 × 40 mins reading. Over both conditions, body weight and shape did not change. Various aspects of body image, however, improved after exercise compared to before.

We’ve explored exercise in depth before, and looked at what it does to our brains, such as releasing proteins and endorphins that make us feel happier, as you can see in the image below.

brain

2. Sleep more – you’ll be less sensitive to negative emotions

We know that sleep helps our bodies to recover from the day and repair themselves, and that it helps us focus and be more productive. It turns out, it’s also important for our happiness.

In NutureShock, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman explain how sleep affects our positivity:

Negative stimuli get processed by the amygdala; positive or neutral memories gets processed by the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation hits the hippocampus harder than the amygdala. The result is that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories, yet recall gloomy memories just fine.

In one experiment by Walker, sleep-deprived college students tried to memorize a list of words. They could remember 81% of the words with a negative connotation, like “cancer.” But they could remember only 31% of the words with a positive or neutral connotation, like “sunshine” or “basket.”

The BPS Research Digest explores another study that proves sleep affects our sensitivity to negative emotions. Using a facial recognition task over the course of a day, the researchers studied how sensitive participants were to positive and negative emotions. Those who worked through the afternoon without taking a nap became more sensitive late in the day to negative emotions like fear and anger.

Using a face recognition task, here we demonstrate an amplified reactivity to anger and fear emotions across the day, without sleep. However, an intervening nap blocked and even reversed this negative emotional reactivity to anger and fear while conversely enhancing ratings of positive (happy) expressions.

Of course, how well (and how long) you sleep will probably affect how you feel when you wake up, which can make a difference to your whole day. Especially this graph showing how your brain activity decreases is a great insight about how important enough sleep is for productivity and happiness:

sleep

Another study tested how employees’ moods when they started work in the morning affected their work day.

Researchers found that employees’ moods when they clocked in tended to affect how they felt the rest of the day. Early mood was linked to their perceptions of customers and to how they reacted to customers’ moods.

And most importantly to managers, employee mood had a clear impact on performance, including both how much work employees did and how well they did it.

Sleep is another topic we’ve looked into before, exploring how much sleep we really need to be productive.

3. Move closer to work – a short commute is worth more than a big house

Our commute to the office can have a surprisingly powerful impact on our happiness. The fact that we tend to do this twice a day, five days a week, makes it unsurprising that its effect would build up over time and make us less and less happy.

According to The Art of Manliness, having a long commute is something we often fail to realize will affect us so dramatically:

… while many voluntary conditions don’t affect our happiness in the long term because we acclimate to them, people never get accustomed to their daily slog to work because sometimes the traffic is awful and sometimes it’s not. Or as Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert put it, “Driving in traffic is a different kind of hell every day.”

We tend to try to compensate for this by having a bigger house or a better job, but these compensations just don’t work:

Two Swiss economists who studied the effect of commuting on happiness found that such factors could not make up for the misery created by a long commute.

4. Spend time with friends and family – don’t regret it on your deathbed

Staying in touch with friends and family is one of the top five regrets of the dying. If you want more evidence that it’s beneficial for you, I’ve found some research that proves it can make you happier right now.

Social time is highly valuable when it comes to improving our happiness, even for introverts. Several studies have found that time spent with friends and family makes a big difference to how happy we feel, generally.

I love the way Harvard happiness expert Daniel Gilbert explains it:

We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.

George Vaillant is the director of a 72-year study of the lives of 268 men.

In an interview in the March 2008 newsletter to the Grant Study subjects, Vaillant was asked, “What have you learned from the Grant Study men?” Vaillant’s response: “That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.”

He shared insights of the study with Joshua Wolf Shenk at The Atlantic on how the men’s social connections made a difference to their overall happiness:

The men’s relationships at age 47, he found, predicted late-life adjustment better than any other variable, except defenses. Good sibling relationships seem especially powerful: 93 percent of the men who were thriving at age 65 had been close to a brother or sister when younger.

In fact, a study published in the Journal of Socio-Economics states than your relationships are worth more than $100,000:

Using the British Household Panel Survey, I find that an increase in the level of social involvements is worth up to an extra £85,000 a year in terms of life satisfaction. Actual changes in income, on the other hand, buy very little happiness.

I think that last line is especially fascinating: Actual changes in income, on the other hand, buy very little happiness. So we could increase our annual income by hundreds of thousands of dollars and still not be as happy as if we increased the strength of our social relationships.

The Terman study, which is covered in The Longevity Project, found that relationships and how we help others were important factors in living long, happy lives:

We figured that if a Terman participant sincerely felt that he or she had friends and relatives to count on when having a hard time then that person would be healthier. Those who felt very loved and cared for, we predicted, would live the longest.

Surprise: our prediction was wrong… Beyond social network size, the clearest benefit of social relationships came from helping others. Those who helped their friends and neighbors, advising and caring for others, tended to live to old age.

5. Go outside – happiness is maximized at 13.9°C

In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor recommends spending time in the fresh air to improve your happiness:

Making time to go outside on a nice day also delivers a huge advantage; one study found that spending 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boosted positive mood, but broadened thinking and improved working memory…

This is pretty good news for those of us who are worried about fitting new habits into our already-busy schedules. Twenty minutes is a short enough time to spend outside that you could fit it into your commute or even your lunch break.

A UK study from the University of Sussex also found that being outdoors made people happier:

Being outdoors, near the sea, on a warm, sunny weekend afternoon is the perfect spot for most. In fact, participants were found to be substantially happier outdoors in all natural environments than they were in urban environments.

The American Meteorological Society published research in 2011 that found current temperature has a bigger effect on our happiness than variables like wind speed and humidity, or even the average temperature over the course of a day. It also found that happiness is maximized at 13.9°C, so keep an eye on the weather forecast before heading outside for your 20 minutes of fresh air.

6. Help others – 100 hours a year is the magical number

One of the most counterintuitive pieces of advice I found is that to make yourself feel happier, you should help others. In fact, 100 hours per year (or two hours per week) is the optimal time we should dedicate to helping others in order to enrich our lives.

If we go back to Shawn Achor’s book again, he says this about helping others:

…when researchers interviewed more than 150 people about their recent purchases, they found that money spent on activities—such as concerts and group dinners out—brought far more pleasure than material purchases like shoes, televisions, or expensive watches. Spending money on other people, called “prosocial spending,” also boosts happiness.

The Journal of Happiness Studies published a study that explored this very topic:

Participants recalled a previous purchase made for either themselves or someone else and then reported their happiness. Afterward, participants chose whether to spend a monetary windfall on themselves or someone else. Participants assigned to recall a purchase made for someone else reported feeling significantly happier immediately after this recollection; most importantly, the happier participants felt, the more likely they were to choose to spend a windfall on someone else in the near future.

So spending money on other people makes us happier than buying stuff for ourselves. What about spending our time on other people? A study of volunteering in Germany explored how volunteers were affected when their opportunities to help others were taken away:

Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall but before the German reunion, the first wave of data of the GSOEP was collected in East Germany. Volunteering was still widespread. Due to the shock of the reunion, a large portion of the infrastructure of volunteering (e.g. sports clubs associated with firms) collapsed and people randomly lost their opportunities for volunteering. Based on a comparison of the change in subjective well-being of these people and of people from the control group who had no change in their volunteer status, the hypothesis is supported that volunteering is rewarding in terms of higher life satisfaction.

In his book Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman explains that helping others can improve our own lives:

…we scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested.

7. Practice smiling – it can alleviate pain

Smiling itself can make us feel better, but it’s more effective when we back it up with positive thoughts, according to this study:

A new study led by a Michigan State University business scholar suggests customer-service workers who fake smile throughout the day worsen their mood and withdraw from work, affecting productivity. But workers who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts – such as a tropical vacation or a child’s recital – improve their mood and withdraw less.

Of course it’s important to practice “real smiles” where you use your eye sockets. It’s very easy to spot the difference:

pic1

According to PsyBlog, smiling can improve our attention and help us perform better on cognitive tasks:

Smiling makes us feel good which also increases our attentional flexibility and our ability to think holistically. When this idea was tested by Johnson et al. (2010), the results showed that participants who smiled performed better on attentional tasks which required seeing the whole forest rather than just the trees.

A smile is also a good way to alleviate some of the pain we feel in troubling circumstances:

Smiling is one way to reduce the distress caused by an upsetting situation. Psychologists call this the facial feedback hypothesis. Even forcing a smile when we don’t feel like it is enough to lift our mood slightly (this is one example of embodied cognition).

One of our previous posts goes into even more detail about the science of smiling.

8. Plan a trip – but don’t take one

As opposed to actually taking a holiday, it seems that planning a vacation or just a break from work can improve our happiness. A study published in the journal, Applied Research in Quality of Life showed that the highest spike in happiness came during the planning stage of a vacation as employees enjoyed the sense of anticipation:

In the study, the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks.

After the vacation, happiness quickly dropped back to baseline levels for most people.

Shawn Achor has some info for us on this point, as well:

One study found that people who just thought about watching their favorite movie actually raised their endorphin levels by 27 percent.

If you can’t take the time for a vacation right now, or even a night out with friends, put something on the calendar—even if it’s a month or a year down the road. Then whenever you need a boost of happiness, remind yourself about it.

9. Meditate – rewire your brain for happiness

Meditation is often touted as an important habit for improving focus, clarity and attention span, as well as helping to keep you calm. It turns out it’s also useful for improving your happiness:

In one study, a research team from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at the brain scans of 16 people before and after they participated in an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation. The study, published in the January issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, concluded that after completing the course, parts of the participants’ brains associated with compassion and self-awareness grew, and parts associated with stress shrank.

Meditation literally clears your mind and calms you down, it’s been often proven to be the single most effective way to live a happier live. I believe that this graphic explains it the best:

calming-mind-brain-waves

According to Shawn Achor, meditation can actually make you happier long-term:

Studies show that in the minutes right after meditating, we experience feelings of calm and contentment, as well as heightened awareness and empathy. And, research even shows that regular meditation can permanently rewire the brain to raise levels of happiness.

The fact that we can actually alter our brain structure through mediation is most surprising to me and somewhat reassuring that however we feel and think today isn’t permanent.

10. Practice gratitude – increase both happiness and life satisfaction

This is a seemingly simple strategy, but I’ve personally found it to make a huge difference to my outlook. There are lots of ways to practice gratitude, from keeping a journal of things you’re grateful for, sharing three good things that happen each day with a friend or your partner, and going out of your way to show gratitude when others help you.

In an experiment where some participants took note of things they were grateful for each day, their moods were improved just from this simple practice:

The gratitude-outlook groups exhibited heightened well-being across several, though not all, of the outcome measures across the 3 studies, relative to the comparison groups. The effect on positive affect appeared to be the most robust finding. Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.

The Journal of Happiness studies published a study that used letters of gratitude to test how being grateful can affect our levels of happiness:

Participants included 219 men and women who wrote three letters of gratitude over a 3 week period.

Results indicated that writing letters of gratitude increased participants’ happiness and life satisfaction, while decreasing depressive symptoms.

Quick last fact: Getting older will make yourself happier

As a final point, it’s interesting to note that as we get older, particularly past middle age, we tend to grow happier naturally. There’s still some debate over why this happens, but scientists have got a few ideas:

Researchers, including the authors, have found that older people shown pictures of faces or situations tend to focus on and remember the happier ones more and the negative ones less.

Other studies have discovered that as people age, they seek out situations that will lift their moods — for instance, pruning social circles of friends or acquaintances who might bring them down. Still other work finds that older adults learn to let go of loss and disappointment over unachieved goals, and hew their goals toward greater wellbeing.

So if you thought being old would make you miserable, rest assured that it’s likely you’ll develop a more positive outlook than you probably have now.

Photo credit: Spencer Finnley

Source: bufferapp.com

The Habits Of Supremely Happy People

The Habits Of Supremely Happy People

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 09/16/2013 8:35 am EDT  |  Updated: 09/18/2013 4:14 pm EDT

happiness habits

Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, theorizes that while 60 percent of happiness is determined by our genetics and environment, the remaining 40 percent is up to us.

In his 2004 Ted Talk, Seligman describes three different kinds of happy lives: The pleasant life, in which you fill your life with as many pleasures as you can, the life of engagement, where you find a life in your work, parenting, love and leisure and the meaningful life, which “consists of knowing what your highest strengths are, and using them to belong to and in the service of something larger than you are.”

After exploring what accounts for ultimate satisfaction, Seligman says he was surprised. The pursuit of pleasure, research determined, has hardly any contribution to a lasting fulfillment. Instead, pleasure is “the whipped cream and the cherry” that adds a certain sweetness to satisfactory lives founded by the simultaneous pursuit of meaning and engagement.

And while it might sound like a big feat to to tackle great concepts like meaning and engagement (pleasure sounded much more doable), happy people have habits you can introduce into your everyday life that may add to the bigger picture of bliss. Joyful folk have certain inclinations that add to their pursuit of meaning — and motivate them along the way.

They surround themselves with other happy people.
cosby show
Joy is contagious. Researchers of the Framingham Heart Study who investigated the spread of happiness over 20 years found that those who are surrounded by happy people “are more likely to become happy in the future.” This is reason enough to dump the Debbie Downers and spend more time with uplifting people.

They smile when they mean it.
Even if you’re not feeling so chipper, cultivating a happy thought — and then smiling about it — could up your happiness levels and make you more productive, according to a study published in the Academy of Management Journal. It’s important to be genuine with your grin: The study revealed that faking a smile while experiencing negative emotions could actually worsen your mood.

They cultivate resilience.
penny heads up
According to psychologist Peter Kramer, resilience, not happiness, is the opposite of depression: Happy people know how to bounce back from failure. Resilience is like a padding for the inevitable hardship human beings are bound to face. As the Japanese proverb goes, “Fall seven times and stand up eight.”

They try to be happy.
Yep — it’s as simple as it sounds: just trying to be happy can boost your emotional well-being, according to two studies recently published in The Journal of Positive Psychology. Those who actively tried to feel happier in the studies reported the highest level of positive moods, making a case for thinking yourself happy.

They are mindful of the good.
It’s important to celebrate great, hard-earned accomplishments, but happy people give attention to their smaller victories, too. “When we take time to notice the things that go right — it means we’re getting a lot of little rewards throughout the day,” Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D. told The Huffington Post in May. “That can help with our moods.” And, as Frank Ghinassi, Ph.D. explains, being mindful of the things that do go your way (even something as simple as the barista getting your coffee order right) can make you feel a greater sense of accomplishment throughout the day.

They appreciate simple pleasures.

A meticulously swirled ice cream cone. An boundlessly waggy dog. Happy people take the time to appreciate these easy-to-come-by pleasures. Finding meaning in the little things, and practicing gratitude for all that you do have is associated with a sense of overall gladness.

They devote some of their time to giving.
Even though there are only 24 hours in a day, positive people fill some of that time doing good for others, which in return, does some good for the do-gooders themselves. A long-term research project called Americans’ Changing Lives found a bevy of benefits associated with altruism: “Volunteer work was good for both mental and physical health. People of all ages who volunteered were happier and experienced better physical health and less depression,” reported Peggy Thoits, the leader of one of the studies.

Givers also experience what researchers call “the helper’s high,” a euphoric state experienced by those engaged in charitable acts. “This is probably a literal “high,” similar to a drug-induced high,” writes Christine L. Carter, Ph.D. “The act of making a financial donation triggers the reward center in our brains that is responsible for dopamine-mediated euphoria.”

They let themselves lose track of time. (And sometimes they can’t help it.)
doodling
When you’re immersed in an activity that is simultaneously challenging, invigorating and meaningful, you experience a joyful state called “flow.” Happy people seek this sensation of getting “caught up” or “carried away,” which diminishes self-consciousness and promotes the feelings associated with success. As explained by Pursuit-of-happiness.org, “In order for a Flow state to occur, you must see the activity as voluntary, enjoyable (intrinsically motivating), and it must require skill and be challenging (but not too challenging) with clear goals towards success.”

They nix the small talk for deeper conversation.
Nothing wrong with shootin’ the you-know-what every now and then, but sitting down to talk about what makes you tick is a prime practice for feeling good about life. A study published in Psychological Science found that those who take part in more substantive conversation and less trivial chit chat experienced more feelings of satisfaction.

“I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings,” is one of the top five regrets of the dying — a sentiment that hints at the fact that people wish they’d spent less time talking about the weather and more time delving into what it is that makes their heart swell.

They spend money on other people.
monty hall
Maybe money does buy happiness. A study published in Science found that spending money on other people has a more direct impact on happiness than spending money on oneself.

They make a point to listen.
“When you listen you open up your ability to take in more knowledge versus blocking the world with your words or your distracting thoughts,” writes David Mezzapelle, author of Contagious Optimism. “You are also demonstrating confidence and respect for others. Knowledge and confidence is proof that you are secure and positive with yourself thus radiating positive energy.” Good listening is a skill that strengthens relationships and leads to more satisfying experiences. A good listener may walk away from a conversation feeling as if their presence served a purpose, an experience that is closely connected with increased well-being.

They uphold in-person connections.
It’s quick and convenient to text, FaceTime and tweet at your buddies. But spending the money on a flight to see your favorite person across the country has weight when it comes to your well-being. “There’s a deep need to have a sense of belonging that comes with having personal interactions with friends,” says John Cacioppo, Ph.D., the director of the Center of Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. Social media, while it keeps us in touch, doesn’t allow us to physically touch, which harvests the warm-and-fuzzies and even decreases feelings of anxiety.

They look on the bright side.

Optimism touts plenty of health benefits, including less stress, a better tolerance for pain and, as HuffPost Healthy Living recently reported, longevity among those with heart disease. When you choose to see the silver lining, you’re also choosing health and happiness.

Seligman summed up perhaps the greatest characteristic of the optimist in one of his most acclaimed books, Learned Optimism:

The defining characteristic of pessimists is that they tend to believe bad events will last a long time, will undermine everything they do, and are their own fault. The optimists, who are confronted with the same hard knocks of this world, think about misfortune in the opposite way. They tend to believe defeat is just a temporary setback, that its causes are confined to this one case. The optimists believe defeat is not their fault: Circumstances, bad luck, or other people brought it about. Such people are unfazed by defeat. Confronted by a bad situation, they perceive it as a challenge and try harder.

They value a good mixtape.
118350080
Music is powerful. So powerful, in fact, that it could match up to the anxiety-reducing effects of massage therapy. Over a three month period, researchers from the Group Health Research Institute found that patients who simply listened to music had the same decreased anxiety symptoms as those who got 10 hour-long massages. Choosing the right tunes could be an important factor, however, as a happy or sad song can also affect the way we perceive the world. In one experiment where researchers asked subjects to identify happy or sad faces while listening to music, the participants were more likely to see the faces that matched the “mood” of the music. Click here for a few of our favorite mood-boosting jams.

They unplug.
Whether by meditating, taking a few deep breaths away from the screen or deliberately disconnecting from electronics, unplugging from our hyper-connected world has proven advantages when it comes to happiness. Talking on your cell could increase your blood pressure and raise your stress levels, while uninterrupted screen time has been linked to depression and fatigue. Technology isn’t going away, but partaking in some kind of a digital detox gives your brain the opportunity to recharge and recover, which — bonus — could increase your resilience.

They get spiritual.
sun salutation
Studies point to a link between religious and spiritual practice and mirth. For one, happiness habits like expressing gratitude, compassion and charity are generally promoted in most spiritual conventions. And, asking the big questions helps to give our lives context and meaning. A 2009 study found that children who felt their lives had a purpose (which was promoted by a spiritual connection) were happier.

Spirituality offers what the 20th-century sociologist Emile Durkheim referred to as “sacred time,” which is a built-in, unplugging ritual that elicits moments of reflection and calm. As Ellen L. Idler, Ph.D., writes in “The Psychological and Physical Benefits of Spiritual/Religious Practices,”:

The experience of sacred time provides a time apart from the “profane time” that we live most of our lives in. A daily period of meditation, a weekly practice of lighting Sabbath candles, or attending worship services, or an annual retreat in an isolated, quiet place of solitude all of these are examples of setting time apart from the rush of our everyday lives. Periods of rest and respite from work and the demands of daily life serve to reduce stress, a fundamental cause of chronic diseases that is still the primary causes of death in Western society. Transcendent spiritual and religious experiences have a positive, healing, restorative effect, especially if they are “built in,” so to speak, to one’s daily, weekly, seasonal, and annual cycles of living

They make exercise a priority.
A wise, albeit fictional Harvard Law School student once said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” Exercise has been shown to ease symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress, thanks to the the various brain chemicals that are released that amplify feelings of happiness and relaxation. Plus, working out makes us appreciate our bodies more. One study published in the Journal of Health Psychology found that exercise improved how people felt about their bodies — even if they didn’t lose weight or achieve noticeable improvements.

They go outside.
Want to feel alive? Just a 20-minute dose of fresh air promotes a sense of vitality, according to several studies published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. “Nature is fuel for the soul, ” says Richard Ryan, Ph.D, the lead author of the studies. “Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature.” And while most of us like our coffee hot, we may prefer our serving of the great outdoors at a more lukewarm temperature: A study on weather and individual happiness unveiled 57 degrees to be the optimal temperature for optimal happiness.

They spend some time on the pillow.
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Waking up on the wrong side of the bed isn’t just a myth. When you’re running low on zzs, you’re prone to experience lack of clarity, bad moods and poor judgment. “A good night’s sleep can really help a moody person decrease their anxiety,” Dr. Raymonde Jean, director of sleep medicine and associate director of critical care at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center told Health.com. “You get more emotional stability with good sleep.”

They LOL.
You’ve heard it before: Laughter is the best medicine. In the case of The Blues, this may hold some truth. A good, old-fashioned chuckle releases happy brain chemicals that, other than providing the exuberant buzz we seek, make humans better equipped to tolerate both pain and stress.

And you might be able to get away with counting a joke-swapping session as a workout (maybe). “The body’s response to repetitive laughter is similar to the effect of repetitive exercise,” explained Dr. Lee Berk, the lead researcher of a 2010 study focused on laughter’s effects on the body. The same study found that some of the benefits associated with working out, like a healthy immune system, controlled appetite and improved cholesterol can also be achieved through laughter.

They walk the walk.

Ever notice your joyful friends have a certain spring in the step? It’s all about the stride, according to research conducted by Sara Snodgrass, a psychologist from Florida Atlantic University.

In the experiment, Snodgrass asked participants to take a three-minute walk. Half of the walkers were told to take long strides while swinging their arms and holding their heads high. These walkers reported feeling happier after the stroll than the other group, who took short, shuffled steps as they watched their feet.

Reposter’s Note

Truly Excellent Article. I would like to add –

Find something to participate in that you can be passionate about and do something with it.

Get up and get going – do something and finish it, the laundry, the dishes, finishing even a small task brings a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

Start a to do list and check things off as you achieve them – more gets accomplished especially more of what you want.

Day Dream – make a point of it at least once a week – it helps us figure out what we think we want, then we can make a plan and work towards that.

Make a Bucket List – it can include things as simple as making a souffle or as grandiose as visiting Manchu Pichu. Do a bit of research and you will be surprised  what experiences, people and places come to pass in your experience.

Always remember AND THIS TOO SHALL PASS whatever the situation. So savoir the moment.

Find the bright side  – there is always one even though it may not become apparent for sometime.

Give  lot of Hugs – they do amazing things for both the giver and receiver.

Add music to your life that is melodious.

Day to day happiness is appreciating the moment – that first sip of an excellent coffee, the smile of a friend that first moment they see you, the smell of rain, the first bite a garden fresh strawberry, those first moments when you awake and the pillow feels so good. Make a habit of acknowledging those moments – being grateful brings more to be grateful for(more happiness)

Make a birthday list and tell those people on their special day – it will brighten the day for both of you.

Share your life with a pet. Yes they take commitment but studies show the rewards emotionally, mentally and physically are extremely beneficial and raise your happiness level significantly.

Take a really good liquid vitamin/mineral supplement every day. Nutrition plays a huge role in how we feel. It is difficult to get the best nutrition unless you take the time and make the effort.  We eat well but even that can still leave gaps. My personal preference after a lot of searching is Daily Complete. My husband likes the taste so much he says he could drink a cup every day. ( his ounce everyday is one of those moments he savors and looks forward too).

Here is the link http://deb.awarenesslife.com/index.cfm?action=details&detail=complete.

No one is perfect – our imperfections make us each unique and perfect in being ourselves.

Life is a myriad of experiences and emotions. Technology is wonderful but it often has us using our time in less participative ways. Life is a participation sport not something to be watched on a screen. Happiness is a by product of true participation and appreciation. Participate and appreciate – more happiness will follow you the rest of your days.

Prevent Flu Naturally – 8 Natural Solutions

       

8 Ways To Avoid The Flu Naturally

To learn more about how to prevent and beat the flu naturally, check out this helpful article by Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D., of the Center for New Medicine:

Couple the recent media predictions of a pandemic-proportion flu season with talk of more vaccination shortages, and the spread of panic isn’t far behind. However, the flu does not have to be inevitable for you or your family and can be avoided naturally by strengthening your immune system.

Taste the rainbow
Eating a wide variety of fresh, wholesome foods packed with powerful vitamins and minerals is the first step to ensuring a strong immune system. Vitamins A, B6, C and E and the minerals zinc, iron, copper and selenium are critical for maintaining strength and immunity. Make sure that your diet consists of a rainbow of fruits and vegetables to ensure that you are getting all of the necessary nutrients. Supplementing your diet with a *** daily multivitamin/mineral*** will fill the gaps where your diet falls short and should be an essential part of your health regime. During cold and flu season, increase your dosage of vitamin C for added virus fighting benefits. Should you still become sick, studies have shown that the powerful antioxidants in vitamin C can reduce both the symptoms and duration of the flu***

I’ll have extra garlic, please
Certain foods can give you an extra boost and should be factored into your regular eating habits. Garlic is known for its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties and can prevent infections from taking hold and spreading. A daily serving of two raw garlic cloves will provide you with the bulbous herb’s healthy benefits. Tip: To avoid offensive garlic breath, cut the cloves into smaller pieces and then swallow them with water or herbal tea. Follow with a sprig of parsley.

A mushroom a day
Mushrooms have been found to increase production and activity of white blood cells, improving your chances of fighting off infection. Both shiitake and maitake mushrooms provide the biggest immunity boost.

Have a tea party
Jump-start your immune system each morning with a fresh pot of black tea. While the healthy properties in black tea have been known for centuries, a recent Harvard University study confirmed its healing effects. The study found that people who drank five cups of black tea a day for two weeks had 10 times higher levels of the cold- and virus-fighting chemical interferon than those who did not drink tea. Researchers suspect that green tea has the same effect.

Run away
Exercising for 30 to 60 minutes daily can give your immune system the extra kick that it needs. A study conducted by David Nieman at Appalachian State University found that people who walked regularly for 12 weeks had half the number of colds and sore throats as people who were less active.

Exercise is also a great way to reduce stress and its harmful effects on the immune system. It has been estimated that 90 percent of illness and disease is stress related. But don’t overdo it! Too much exercise can have the opposite effect on your immune system. Exercising for more than 90 minutes a day could make you more susceptible to the flu virus.

Sleep on it
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for the immune system to recharge itself. An overly fatigued body doesn’t have the necessary strength to fight off infections. With eight hours a night of solid sleep, your body will be ready to face a new day and ward off pesky invaders.

Lather Up
A strong immune system should be able to combat the flu virus, but washing your hands frequently can increase your health odds even more. Use warm water and soap and avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes to prevent the virus from entering your system.

Avoid the flu shot
According to Dr. J. Anthony Morris, the former Chief Vaccine Control Officer at the FDA, “There is no evidence that any influenza vaccine, thus far developed, is effective in preventing or mitigating any attack of influenza.” When you also consider the toxic mixture of chemicals found in the flu vaccine, the decision becomes a no-brainer. Among the vaccine’s ingredients are such toxins as ethylene glycol (a.k.a. antifreeze), formaldehyde (a known carcinogen), aluminum (linked to Alzheimer’s disease and known to produce cancer in mice) and thimerosol (a form of mercury, the most toxic of all heavy metals). Thimerosol has had so much scrutiny in the past decade that it has been banned in all childhood vaccinations in the United States, yet it still remains in the influenza vaccine today.

This year the flu season doesn’t have to get you down. Take good care of your body and you will be rewarded with a lifetime of good health. And just think of what you can do with all of those unused sick days!

Dr. Connealy, M.D., M.P.H. began private practice in 1986. In 1992, she founded South Coast Medical Center for New Medicine, where she serves as Medical Director. Her practice is firmly based in the belief that strictly treating health problems with medications does not find the root cause of the illness. Dr. Connealy writes monthly columns for Coast and OC Health magazines, and is a biweekly guest on Frank Jordan’s “Healthy” radio show. She routinely lectures and educates the public on health issues.

Thanks to Natural News for a great article.
***daily multivitamin/mineral……Best I have found is Daily Complete: A liquid formulation http://deb.awarenesslife.com/index.cfm?action=details&detail=complete
*** Vitamin C, Freshly squeezed lemon juice in very warm water with honey or Pure Maple Syrup and Cinnamon. I drink this at the first hint of a Cold or Flu with excellent results. Drinking warm lemon every morning is excellent for  boosting your immunity and helping your body detox on an ongoing basis.

Cellulite – Exercises and Tips To Reduce Cellulite

Cellulite –  Exercises and Tips To Reduce Cellulite

Put on some good music and do these exercises to it for a couple of songs a few times a week. Make it fun.  Alternate daily with a brisk 15 minute walk to get quicker results.

Challenge a few friends:  Maybe the Losers can chip in to buy dinner for the winner – great reason for a get together and have some fun as a reward for sticking with it. Everybody will be a winner because a fun evening with friends is always a treat. People who have exercise partners are more accountable so get the best results. We all have great intentions – it is the follow through that trips us up.  Like any program – You have to USE IT to LOSE IT!

Cellulite exercises: How to reduce cellulite with exercise

Almost every woman has some cellulite and it’s nearly impossible to get rid of. But you can do exercises to fight the appearance of cellulite. Chris Freytag of Prevention magazine shows us all how to do an anti-cellulite workout.

Coffee Ground Scrub Can Fight Cellulite

This commentary is from NewJerseyNewsroom.com BY VICKY DeROSA

As many of you are aware I am fascinated by anything having to do with health and wellness. I research absolutely everything having to do with the body inside and out.

Many years ago I noticed that there were very expensive creams on the market to fight against cellulite. Many of these creams contain caffeine. I began to research anything and everything having to do with caffeine as it relates to the skin.
cellulite

Consequently, I found out that caffeine increases blood flow thereby helping to reduce the effects of fat cells underneath the skin. Several of you wrote in and asked if coffee grounds were my number one solution to cellulite. You are correct of course but my technique is original and has a twist. Years ago I created a technique and shared it with people who were suffering with cellulite. It helped to make their skin smooth, soft and certainly reduced their cellulite. If you have cellulite I suggest you try it. Actually, if you don’t have cellulite I suggest you also try it, you will be amazed at the results.

Coffee Ground Scrub

Ingredients:

Day old coffee grounds
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Bath mit (sponge, but looks like a glove)

Directions

1. In a large bowl combine 1 cup coffee grounds with olive oil and salt. Use enough oil to create a thick paste and sprinkle in some kosher salt. Depending on whether or not you like a hard or soft exfoliant will depend on how much kosher salt you sprinkle in. I suggest a tablespoon. Some people prefer more so as to create a harder scrub.

2. 35 minutes before taking a shower, put your hand with the bath mit into the bowl and grab some of the paste. Rub the paste onto your legs and hips (actually you can rub the mixture anywhere you like, you will see fantastic results after just a week of using this technique).

3. Wrap yourself in your bathrobe and keep the paste on for 30 minutes.

4. Rinse off in a warm shower. I would like to point out here that for all of you that like to take two or three showers per day, I strongly suggest you cool your water temperature. Showering with very warm water will dry out your skin. So if you take numerous showers throughout the day try to make them as cool as possible.

I strongly recommend you try this paste. I have recommended it to many people over the years and they always give me rave reviews. Remember it is great to exfoliate your body anyway, why not use something natural. This is one of the best ways that I know to fight cellulite, and might I add, the cheapest. So what do you have to lose my friend?

Vicky DeRosa is Founder and CEO of Studio V Health Corp. For more information check out http://www.studiovhealth.com.

Drink Plenty of Water: Water helps flush out the fat and toxins from the body. Water suppresses appetite and helps keep your body hydrated and energized. Some of My Favorites are:

Lemon Water,

https://allaboutwellnesssolutions.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/health-benefits-of-drinking-lemon-water-2/

Detox Water:  https://allaboutwellnesssolutions.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/detox-water/

Miraculous Weight-loss Drink:

https://allaboutwellnesssolutions.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/miraculous-weight-loss-drink/

Eat Smart and Healthy: Avoid all processed foods – eat natural and wholesome, 80% Vegetables and Fruits at a minimum.

Get Enough Good Quality Sleep – we make our metabolic enzymes and hormones during sleep – too little sleep will derail any health improvement program.  I ran into adrenal fatigue a few years ago and my body forced me to sleep a lot for 5 months. My family made sure I ate very well.  I basically ate and slept very deeply. I dropped at least 5 sizes and the cellulite went too. I DO NOT recommended this.  When I was functioning properly again, I had to understand what had happened and how – I learned how very important getting sufficient good sleep can be to reducing and maintaining weight.

https://allaboutwellnesssolutions.wordpress.com/?s=sleep

https://allaboutwellnesssolutions.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/17-things-you-didnt-know-about-sleep/

https://allaboutwellnesssolutions.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/healing-herbs-and-spices/

Everything you do to Reduce Cellulite that is healthy and natural also leads to better overall health.

Thanks to Chris Freytag of Prevention Magazine for the great video.

Thanks to Vicky DeRosa for her commentary courtesy of New Jersey Newsroom.com

10 Tips for Better Sleep

 Get those ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ’s

So many of us these days are just tired, hectic work and family life, too many obligations, too much to get done in a day. Or we sit down for a minute at the end of a long day to enjoy a program play a game or read a book. That minute becomes hours and we simply don’t allow enough time for sleep.

On top of the tips below  – No Electronics in the bedroom, that includes the cell phone.

If you have too,  SET A TIMER – so you don’t get engrossed and inadvertently stay up far beyond a reasonable bedtime that would allow for the necessary amount of sleep time.

Routines help us wind down a fall asleep easily. Create a routine to support yourself getting your best rest.

One complaint I hear often is lack of a good night’s sleep. If you can sleep well, it makes every aspect of life better. Read this poster, I hope at least one of them works for you!

Getting enough sleep keeps you looking and feeling younger. Sleep is when the body repairs and rejuvenates.

HAPPY SLEEPING!

17 Things You Didn’t Know About Sleep.

Wonderful Poster – Tons of good info. Thank You Psychology Degree.net

The 17th Thing You Didn’t Know About Sleep is that, sleep is when you make your metabolic enzymes. Today almost everyone is short on good quality sleep in sufficient amounts.

A few years back,  I was really burning the candle at both ends and ended up totally burning out of my adrenals. I was so exhausted, I slept 20 hours a day for 5 months.  I was diagnosed with extreme adrenal fatigue. The prescription = Lots of good sleep,  as much as I could handle.  Vitamin/ mineral supplementation and a diet that included drinking water, comfort foods like simple starches, eggs, lots of fresh greens, vegetables and fruits that would rebuild energy stores but keep the colon clear due to lack of exercise.

My husband would wake me for meals and snacks and I would immediately fall back asleep. If I stopped moving – I feel asleep. I had to stop driving for a while because I was falling asleep during red lights and while driving. Then one day I got up and the exhaustion was gone . BUT I had gone from a size 13 – 14 to a size 6 -7.  During my sleep sabbatical,  I ate better, more consistently and more, yet I lost weight. Easiest weight I have ever lost other than having a baby. (LOL)

I talked to my doctor who gave the name of a nutritionist. She said a big player in todays obesity epidemic is the lack of good sleep.  We are not making or releasing the metabolic enzymes and hormones we need to properly metabolize and use food so WE STORE THOSE CALORIES AS FAT!