Monday, June 20, 2016

Up your happiness quotient

Do you sometimes find yourself feeling down even when there's nothing specific that looms as a cause? It's not at all uncommon. Interestingly, studies show that people who make "happy movements" actually feel happier. Jump up and down. Throw your firsts into the air. Smile and use positive facial expressions. Swing your arms. Put a spring in your step. I know it may sound fake and silly—but studies do show that it can improve mood.

Of course, we know that laughter is good for us. It increases immune activity and decreases stress hormones. It enhances mood. It raises good cholesterol levels (HDL). It lowers blood pressure and lowers bad cholesterol (LDL). So watching a comedy show or funny YouTube video might be just what the doctor ordered.

Exercise is good for reducing stress and overcoming feelings of sadness, too. Walk. Bike. Swim. Do some cardio or aerobic exercises. Practice some yoga moves. Whatever you're able to do or whatever floats your boat.

Walking in nature can lift spirits, too. I've mentioned before the practice of "forest bathing" (contemplative walks in the woods) that began in Japan. In fact, the Japanese government recognized that in 1982 as a way to improve quality of life. It's been shown to decrease feelings of stress, anxiety and anger. Who couldn't use that these days?

No comments:

Post a Comment