This interesting question has some truth to it: — Granted there are many factors leading to better mood and a stronger heart – diet, exercise, sleep, etc. – but interesting research by Harvard School of Public Health shows not only does mood matter, but that we should do all we can to improve mood naturally.
Harvard research fellow Julia K. Boehm, PhD evaluated over 200 studies, the largest review ever to examine the impact of a positive outlook on heart attack and stroke risk. We have seen plenty of good research showing how sadness and anxiety can negatively affect our health, but focusing on the optimistic flip-side is a new perspective for science.
There is a deep connection between characteristics such as optimism and happiness and a lower risk for heart and vascular disease. Among people who had other known risk factors for heart disease, those who were the most optimistic were less likely than their least-optimistic peers to have a heart attack or stroke.
And this should make your heart smile:
Kindness: Start with You
“Make happy those who are near, and those who are far will come.” —Chinese proverb
Start by making yourself happy first! While researchers can’t say for sure which comes first, optimism or good health, the wisdom of Eastern sages reminds us that the body and mind are intrinsically linked, and any efforts we make to bring health to the body must also be made in the emotional realm as well. For example, to reduce anxiety and risk of heart disease, simple steps people take are to exercise more and eat better.
So here are my 5 steps to mood and longevity:
1. Stand Up for Happiness–Take a walk.
Productivity is the basis for morale. But all too often we can spiral down into a working whirlwind. Sitting at the desk all day and staring into the screen can zap you of your energy and drain your mood. Get out of your rut, all you have to do is get back on your feet! It is as simple as taking a few moments to stand tall, stretch your arms, and wiggle your toes and fingers. Feel that instant surge of energy while you’re reaching for the stars.
When you leave your desk for the day, don’t do something else the same distance from your face. You’ll just feel more fatigue. Take a walk. Get outside. Look at things. If the weather is really not so nice, find an inside place to look at people and things. Try it!
2. Think Positive
Turn that frown upside down. A smile will instantly perk up your mood!
Stress wreaks havoc on our thoughts and behavior. Negative thought patterns may eventually contribute to depression, anxiety, and perpetuate an unfulfilling lifestyle. On the flip side, more positive thoughts can instantly lift your spirits and change your outlook.
Try this: each day write down at least three things for which you are grateful. Instead of dragging yourself down with what you wish you had, boost your mood by acknowledging all the things that you do have at this moment. You will begin to see that your glass is half full with abundance!
3. Crank Up the Tunes
Whether you enjoy jazz or the latest pop, listen to music that triggers happy thoughts and memories, calms you when you are feeling stressed. Whether you find the urge to shimmy (which counts as completing #1, above) or relax… Whatever your choice, keep a go-to list of great tunes on hand!
4. Be Rainbow Bright
Gray and black may just need a splash of color. Changing out your usual monochrome dark colors can instantly lift your spirits. No, you don’t need a wardrobe that looks like a Crayola box! Add just one or two brighter items or even accessories and color your mood happy.
5. Mood Food
Munch on great snacks. To get the health benefits you crave, it is best to stick with nuts and fruit. I know my dear readers will pass on the processed chips and sweet treats, of course, but a little healthy fat and fruit is an amazing mood cure quick snack:
unsalted nuts and dried cranberries
Almond scones OMG!
and for those big necessities try:
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