Three Steps to Happiness
Be happy. Some of us believe this is our purpose on Earth. We should find peace and contentment and live our lives. Easier said than done when you’re stressed out at work, your children are creating havoc or you’re in an unhealthy relationship. “Stuff” happens and if you can find a way to handle it with calmness and grace you’ll reduce the physical stress on your body.
Here are three things you can do to help find happiness and improve your health.
It doesn’t have to be an intense sweat drenching workout to improve your mood although the endorphin rush from a physically challenging activity is amazing. Simply going for a walk, bike ride or gardening can enhance your well-being.
Endorphins released during physical activity block opioid receptors and reduce pain signals and produce a euphoric feeling. Exercise also lowers cortisol, a stress hormone in the body. Plus it improves sleep, which has shown to affect mood. No wonder exercise has been used to treat clinical depression.
Finally, exercise will improve your self-esteem and serve as a distraction to what ails you. When you commit to a regular workout regimen you focus on that activity and take your mind off whatever is stressing you at the moment. Eventually you will start to see the results from your dedication and feel a sense of accomplishment and contentment with your physical appearance. Speak to your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
When you first meet someone you reach out and shake their hand or perhaps kiss on the cheeks. It is a way of warmly greeting them and letting your guard down. Physical touch has been linked to better health and happiness. Starting at birth researchers found premature infants who received touch therapy gained 47-percent more weight, thus improving their health, than those who did not. Adolescents with ADHD were found to be happier and calmer after being massaged. Massage has also been linked to decreased blood pressure and increased immune function. Other studies have found a warm touch to calm stress and release oxytocin, the so-called love hormone.
Anecdotally, participants seemed to have more fun in exercise classes when I make them partner up, something that often ends up with physical contact. Another yoga instructor told me about the overwhelming positive response she receives when she offers physical adjustments in class. Touch calms, soothes and builds trust. For your health and happiness figure out how you can get more human contact.
Make Some Noise!
I try to get people in my exercise classes to respond to me by hooting and hollering. Besides creating more energy and enthusiasm through the class it gets them to breath more and use their transverse muscle in the abdomen. Some say the Chinese have used yelling to enhance their health for generations. It can release endorphins and give a “runner’s high” feeling.
More study has been given to the positive effects of singing, perhaps considered another form of yelling. It has found to reduce stress as well as increase oxygen to the body including the brain. It strengthens muscles in the throat, rib cage, back and abdominals. It’s also found to release endorphins and opiates like exercise. Singing is mentally and emotionally stimulating especially when done with a group.
If you want to feel better about yourself and happier in your life find some friends, grab hands go for a walk while singing as loud as you can. Always check with your doctor before engaging in new physical activities.
Science of Touch: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/hands_on_research
Benefits of singing: http://www.businessballs.com/singing.htm
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