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How To Be Happier

2012-04-06

How a positive attitude really can make a difference

The reward of providing Alzheimer's care for others is most enjoyed when the caregiver is fulfilled. Taking care of yourself is just as important as caring for a loved one.

From AARP, here are six steps to feeling happier. A positive attitude can really make a difference in your health.

1. Adopt an Animal Companion

People who share space with a pet experience less stress and have lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels than those who don't.

2. Turn Up the Music

Music lessens anxiety before surgery, promotes healing and reduces the levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol. (Higher levels of cortisol can lead to a decreased immune response.) Music can also lower blood pressure, reduce arthritis pain and speed post-stroke recovery.

3. Have a Good Laugh

In addition to helping prevent heart disease, a good laugh increases the number and activity of disease-fighting cells, dulls pain, reduces levels of stress-related hormones and prompts the release of feel-good chemicals called endorphins.

4. Get Back to Nature

Walking and cycling are types of low-intensity cardiovascular exercise that can reduce the risk of heart disease. Worried about your weight? Exercising outdoors often burns more calories than the same workout indoors.

5. Help Yourself by Helping Others

About 100 hours a year (only two hours a week) is sufficient to reap health benefits such as lower stress levels, lower rates of depression, healthier weight, reduced insomnia and a strengthened immune system.

6. Try Tai Chi

This mind-body practice can prevent or treat a number of health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure and sleep problems.


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