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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Don't Worry~Be Happy: How Happiness and Giving to Others Affects Your Health

Why You shouldn't Worry about Your Health

Feeling low? Worried about your health? Want a way to get out of your funk? Happiness research points the way. 

Powerful and uplifting links between our health and happiness have emerged in recent years, empowering us to worry less and enjoy life more--if we heed the message

In a nutshell:

If you want to live a longer, healthier life develop a more optimistic outlook by creating a sense of purpose and finding a way to 'do good' by giving to others.
Being happy and satisfied in life, and having an optimistic attitude is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. One study found having a sense of purpose reduced your chances of having a stroke by 44 percent. Cancer survivors who have a sense of purpose in life live longer.

While worrying and fretting about your health may feel like the right thing to do when an issue arises, stressing over your health can make matters worse as your stress hormones rise and inflame the situation. The better, more effective path is to calmly seek help and solutions.   

Worrying Yourself Sick

Don't give in to 'worrying yourself sick' when something's up with your health. Face it. Seek medical help when necessary. And talk to trusted friends and family about your fears. Choose to act calmly for yourself no matter what's up. Pursuing calm and relaxation when you're dealing with illness or pain can only make things better; letting worry, fear and stress overwhelm you only makes things worse.

Create a Sense of Purpose and Focus for Good Health

Putting yourself out there in life and going after what you want is a risk. The courage to risk comes from discovering what matters to you. 

Start by defining what you want out of life at this juncture so you can better guide your choices and daily actions. What you care about matters--it is the wind in your sails propelling you forward into a long, healthy satisfying life.

Discover what matters to you so you can:

💙 Concentrate your limited time and energy on those things that count.

💛 Plan your life so you feel more control over the things that matter to you.

💜 Create a sense of urgency for the things that are most important to you.

Lay the Foundation for Your Health and Happiness 

We all need others to support us when we're feeling fearful or ill. Having social support is a very important part of living a healthy life--especially when we're feeling a bit shaky. 

It's comforting to know there is someone out there who cares about us and is willing to gently help us over the humps and bumps in life.  

But surprise, surprise--giving support to others also makes us feel good--even better than our getting support from them. According to studies, we are happier, more energetic and develop better friendships when we reach out to 'do good' for others.

 But giving to others doesn't just make us feel good. In addition to decreasing our chances of getting depressed, giving to others improves our ability to think, strengthens our heart, lowers our stress and increases our lifespan.
Giving to others makes us happy. It is the doing for others that keeps us connected, provides our lives meaning, and extends our lifespan.

Do Good unto Others to Do Good unto Yourself

Did You Know?

💓 High levels of social support are as predictive of longevity as exercise, while low levels of social support are as detrimental to your health as high blood pressure?

💙 There's a high correlation between the amount of social support you perceive you have and your level of happiness?

💚 In the workplace the greatest predictor of your job satisfaction and engagement is the amount of social support you perceive you have. (And your productivity is directly related to your job satisfaction and engagement.)

We've known for decades the amount of social support you have greatly affects your health and longevity. But in more recent years a surprising tidbit has emerged.

The amount of social support you give is more important than the amount you get.

You do not need to rely on the actions of others to increase your health and happiness. You can positively affect your own well-being by reaching out and supporting others.

'It turns out, that giving feels better, does more for you, and provides greater returns in the long run, than getting ever does.'
 Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage
Be the change you want to see--do good for someone else while uplifting and improving your health at the same time. Get out of yourself to lend a hand, provide a listening ear, or give a moment of kindness. 

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For more than 35 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes letting go and moving forward with life easier than ever before.

Do you know someone who could benefit from uplifting messages? Please share Lightarted Living with them. If you or someone you love is interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the FREE Lightarted Living mailing list. 

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