Thursday, June 4, 2009

Surprising Health Boosters

We know the power of thoughts and actions, but did you know they can help determine your health? According to a recent article in Good Housekeeping, they can add or subtract years from your life.

It's a hard balancing act to juggle the facets of our busy lives -- kids, relationships, work, writing, hobbies, etc. And when we have too many balls in the air at once, often the last thing we worry about is ourselves. Maybe it's a good time right now to stop and take stock; to put ourselves on the perpetual To Do list of chores and goals.

The emotional aspects of our lives we can improve for the betterment of our physical health are simple and free, but often overlooked:

Focus on Positivity~ Recent studies that followed participants for 40 years showed that those who felt good about getting older added an average of seven years to their lives. Ridding ourselves of negative emotions (bitterness, regret, anger, hostility) does the heart good, literally. Putting a little more sunshine into our disposition is good for us, and nobody wants to be around a sourpuss anyway. Today, let's let some of those darker feelings go, and concentrate on the upbeat like joy and gratitude. How? Be an extrovert, join a civic or church group, talk to strangers, put ourselves "out there" more.

Be Action Oriented~ Volunteering with organizations that help others or promote good causes is also good for us. Who knew? Mom was right again -- it never hurts to extend ourselves to others. One of the study stats says those who do two or more volunteer activities have a 44% lower death rate. (Hey, that's better results than exercising every other day!) Compassion boosts our antibodies, so lending a hand benefits our health as well as helps others. Win-win.

Pump up the Prayer Power~ Yep, it's official. Regular worship and meditation can add seven to 14 years to life. Besides guiding us to sidestep certain vices, being part of a prayerful community gives us a support system. A deeper belief system than our own power improves our health.

Be a Social Butterfly~ People with really strong social connections enjoy better health. This applies to stable, good relationships as much or more than seeing friends on a regular basis. Solid relationships equal stronger immune systems.

So bloggy friends, let's get out there and do something nice for somebody. Like green veggies and vitamins, it's good for us!


Kathryn Magendie said...

I woke up this morning appreciating my life! I get to write, I have my book published, I live in a beautiful area with beautiful ancient mountains, I'm healthy, I'm not hungry and I have a place to lay my head on every night! yes!

jinksy said...

Reckon these ideas all fit under the umbrella of 'mind over matter'; if it's usual state is positive, the benefits such a mind brings are many.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

All good recommendations... Positive thinking along with good exercise & healthy eating goes a long way in keeping the mind & body healthy.

Sand-in-stone said...

Yep, what Dr. Norman Vincent Peal and yo momma said, all those years ago have come to light once again.

Good work.

Melissa Marsh said...

Great reminders!

Cheffie-Mom said...

Great post and so true! We all need to take time to stop and smell the rosemary!

Terri Tiffany said...

Great examples--now if I can get the social butterfly thing going on here in this town:) I'll live to be 100!

Jessica said...

Oh dang. Does blogging count as a social connection? LOL
I've heard the thing about prayer, but I kind of like embracing my darker feelings. Makes the writing stronger.
Maybe this is why so may great writers died young?

Scott said...

Great post. I have the social butterfly - to a certain extent - down pat. I'm guessing Friday night margaritas count in the social butterfly category. If not, I'm in trouble!

Positivity - check! My glass is always half-full (except when it's half empty). Kidding. Life happens as it happens and I aim for the best everyday.


DebraLSchubert said...

Love life. Plain and simple. It's amazing, every bit of it. Even the painful stuff gets us to a better place. Smile. Always. And be a cheerleader for those in your life.;-)

Anonymous said...

I love posts like this. People call me nuts, maybe I am, but this stuff really works. Look at the walls of our gym. Also look in the eyes of our athletes. This is why I do it.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

I buy every word!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Yay, Kat! Livin' large, as it should be. :)

So true, jinksy & Lizzy.

Sand, everything old is new again...thankfully.

Thanks, Melissa & Cheffie.

Terri, I'm pulling for you!

LOL, Jessica, I hope blogging counts. Sometimes it makes up a lot of my socializing. I think you're right -- writers feel all the emotions more deeply than "regular" folks.

Scott, you've got the ticket. :)

I'm a firm believer in cheerleading, Schube.

Oren, I know you know the health benefits of those things because you LIVE them.

*smile* Carrie.

Debbie said...

Sage advice. I love that positive attitudes add 7 years. I'm figuring I have that one locked up!

Hilary said...

Great food for thought here.. as always.

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