You deserve true happiness. In fact, your emotional and physical health depends on it. Positive emotions not only feel good, they also reduce stress-related risks for heart disease, cancer, and more. Follow these 7 steps to happiness and good health:
- Use positive self-talk. Trade self-put-downs (e.g., What an idiot I am!) for encouraging words (e.g., Nice going! I'll do better next time! I'm great at learning from my mistakes!).
- Connect with friends. Really talk with people you care about. Get physical, too. Hugs stimulate oxytocin, the "cuddle hormone," spreading a feel-good boost among friends.
- Keep a daily gratitude journal. Writing down what you're thankful for makes you healthier and more optimistic.
- Exercise your way to a better mood. Being active at least 30 minutes a day increases happiness and makes your body's RealAge 2.8 years younger. Get happy by making time for daily exercise.
- Meditate to stay happy. Meditation eases stress, strengthens immunity, and increases happiness -- big time.
- Understand unhappiness. When it happens (it will), learn from it. It's a chance for you to make positive changes.
- Pay it forward. The real secret to being happy is to realize that true peace comes when you recognize the gifts you have -- gifts you can pass along to others.
Take these stay-happy steps and you'll cope better with pain and stress, and reduce your risk for colds, flu, heart disease, and even cancer.