At US Family Health Plan – a TRICARE PRIME health program – we believe health and happiness are very closely related. While happiness does not guarantee good health, unhappiness and stress can be an underlying factor many unhealthy conditions, including inflammation, hypertension, and poor immune function.
Nothing beats regular health check-ups, and better yet, following your doctor’s orders. However, stacking the deck in favor of happiness will certainly give your health a strong boost.
Here are 10 ways you can stack the happiness deck in your favor. Your body will thank you for it!
- Express gratitude daily.– When you appreciate what you have, what you have immediately grows in value – your value. Expressing gratitude for the good things you already have in life pays a free, automatic dividend of happiness. Suddenly the glass you thought was half empty, is half full. Your focus starts to shift to what you do have and how to enjoy it, versus what you don’t have. Once you take this kind of mental inventory, you suddenly start to realize how much you have to be grateful for. Life’s little gifts can come in the form of a loving family, great siblings, a wonderful spouse, a warm home, beautiful children, a rewarding job, or simply good health. If we find it hard to be thankful for what we already have, you can bet it will be just as hard to be thankful for things we are yet to receive. Gratitude is an attitude that pays amazing dividends.
- Be an optimist, not a pessimist.– Optimism tends to be a characteristic of those who succeed in life. Instead of constantly looking for trouble, optimists focus on what’s right in front of them – no trouble, no worries. If trouble does appear on the scene, instead of worrying about it, optimists immediately start looking for solutions. And guess what, they spend a lot less time in trouble, because it is not welcome in their life! Life is mostly just a problem solving process. Trouble is not meant to be dwelled in, it is meant to be solved. The hidden opportunities that trouble brings to light, can be the very doorways to your future success.
- Embrace kindness as a lifestyle. Simply put, being kind to others just makes you feel better – mentally and physically. Mentally, you feel good because you have done something good. Physically, when you are kind to another, the body releases a substance called serotonin into the brain. This substance holds major health benefits, including a feeling of bliss and well-being. When you focus on someone else’s wellbeing, you get a warm feeling that radiates to everyone around you.
- Be the best you can be, and love doing it! Unhealthy comparisons to other people is a toxic habit. The perception that we are “better” than others is just as unbalancing as a feeling that we’re “not good enough”. Grounded individuals dispel both of these notions. They know that everyone is unique and brings something different to the party. By avoiding these kinds of unhealthy comparisons, you are free to just be yourself and to blossom. The only time it’s good to compare, is to compare you to an earlier version of you and feel good about the progress you have made in life.
- Be social.And we are not talking about Facebook! The happiest people have meaningful relationships, and lots of them. Not everyone will qualify as a BFF, but a strong positive network of acquaintances and friends is a definite health plus. Studies show that people strong, supportive social networks live longer and have a more rewarding life. Life is about making memories, and having great friends and family helps us feel connected.
- Be able to cope with difficulty. How you respond to a situation is 10 times more important than the situation itself. Difficulty in life is inevitable, but being able to handle difficulty successfully is a choice you have to make for yourself. The more trouble you man-handle, the less it can throw you off next time. Fight the funk. You will eventually have an arsenal of pre-rehearsed, on-call strategies for dealing with all of life’s ups and downs.
- Let go of old stuff and learn to forgive.Inwardly harboring resentment toward others, or any negative emotions, harms you more than it harms anyone else. While you holding on to old stuff, others have moved on with their life and may not even be thinking about you. When hold onto negative thoughts and emotions, your body harbors toxicity that detracts from your health. It affects how you relate to others, affects your productivity, and causes your mind to focus on precisely what’s not important. Let go and live happy!
- Get into the flow.– When you are in your flow, it’s all good in the neighborhood. You feel like time is standing still and whatever you are doing feels effortless and enjoyable. You become at one the task at hand and no one’s looking at a clock. Finding this kind of groove, is exactly the way you want your life to be. Cherish these experiences and multiply them when possible. Let your dreams your reality, and you will soon find a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that is hard to surpass.
- Take a moment to savor life’s sweetest joys.Life is short, so remember to stop and smell the roses from time to time. Slow down. Take in a glorious sunset or just sit and watch your kids play. It’s easy to get caught up in how busy life can be, and guess what – before you blink an eye, life can just pass you by. Happy moments are moments when you can take in all the beauty of your surroundings and not feel pressured or guilty. Take it all in! These moments are magic.
- Commit to your important life goals.– Being wholeheartedly dedicated to goals is matched by the universe with your ability to accomplish them. Amazing things start to happen when we make a commitment to ourselves to accomplish something important. Your efforts are almost always met half way. Circumstances kick in that propel us forward. Strive to know your life’s work, accomplish your goals, and sit back and experience the wonderful things that come out of your accomplishments.
We at US Family Health Plan are focused on your health, and your happiness. Happiness is one of life’s best medicines and we prescribe it wholeheartedly! Stay happy and heathy. Get your regular health check-ups, get first rate treatment, when necessary, and enjoy the best life has to offer. Life is a gift. Get the most out of it.