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Health & Wellness > Health & Wellness 4 > HW 33

6 Ways to Feel Happier and Healthier

How a positive attitude really can make a difference

Source: http://www.aarp.org

A good mood not only influences how you feel today, it can have a powerful impact on your health for years to come.

Scientists urge us to be as attentive to our moods and attitudes as we are to our physical health. Two recent studies underscore the importance of that advice.

"Happiness is no magic bullet, but the evidence is clear and compelling that it changes your odds of getting disease or dying young."

Eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep help keep you healthy, but how do you develop a positive attitude?

Here are six mood boosters to make the world look rosier. Add them to your life, and odds are you'll feel both happier and healthier. If you rarely walk on the sunny side of the street, now's the time to cross over.

1.      Adopt and Animal Companion

Pets provide more than companionship and a warm welcome home. They lend a willing and helpful ear — even if they have fins or feathers instead of fur.

Many pet owners confide in a pet because pets don't judge, condemn or talk back. Studies have found that dog owners are often as emotionally close to their pets as to their closest family members.

2.      Turn up the Music

Even before we're born, we can hear music, and it holds us in its power throughout life.

Soothing, melodic music blunts stress and provides comfort. Bright, upbeat tunes set toes tapping and boost flagging energy. Relaxing music serves as an easy and safe way to improve sleep. Music helps keep both mind and body health and resilient, and it activates specific brain regions involved in emotion and memory.

3.      Have a Good Laugh

Laughter prompts physical changes that help the immune and endocrine systems function better.

There's even more. Scientists know that stress has a negative effect on the heart and causes blood vessels to narrow.

4.      Get Back to Nature

Head for the great outdoors to boost your mood and your self-esteem. Researchers at the University of Essex in England found that people who participated in outdoor activities were significantly less angry, depressed and tense.

5.      Help Yourself by Helping Others

Volunteers who devote time to community organizations or who informally help out friends, relatives and neighbors report greater happiness and better health than those who don't.

6.      Try Tai Chi

The gentle movements of tai chi reduce anxiety and depression, improve sleep quality, lower blood pressure and relieve chronic pain. These low-impact, slow-motion exercises encourage you to focus on your breathing and your body and allow you to concentrate fully on the present.

Be well, Be Happy, Be Healthy!

CLICK  HERE TO READ MORE: http://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-05-2011/6-ways-to-feel-happier-be-healthier.7.html