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Natural Awakenings New York City

Joy from the Little Things Will Keep You Healthy

rewire me coverToday, chronic inflammation is one of the leading causes of stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. These conditions are typically treated with invasive interventions—surgery, radiation, and pharmaceutical drugs—only after they become quite serious. But what if you could prevent inflammation?

Good news! New research shows that positive experiences—having a conversation with a friend, for instance—can help reduce chronic inflammation. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University, led by Nancy Sin, found that, “People who had more frequent positive events in their daily lives tended to have lower inflammation, compared to people who had fewer positive events.”

Indicators of well-being—such as positive emotions, a sense of purpose, and an active social life—are associated with lower inflammation. Here are a few ways you can incorporate more happiness, joy, and positivity into your life:

  1. “Plug in” to yourself: In this age, we are inseparable from technology. But it’s important to set boundaries. “To live the purposeful, meaningful life of our dreams with the best health possible for our bodies, we must spend time ‘plugged into ourselves’,” said Barb Schmidt, author of The Practice: Simple Tools for Managing Stress, Finding Inner Peace, and Uncovering Happiness(HCI Books).
  2. Create a support community: Being social pays dividends for our health. “When we feel connected and loved, it is much easier to maintain a positive outlook on life despite challenges,” said psychotherapist Ana Moreno, MS, LMHC.
  3. Savor small joys:  “People who are able to recognize and interpret an experience—even a mundane one—as positive generally have higher well-being, compared to people who are less likely to notice or interpret experiences as positive,” said Sin.
  4. Don’t bottle ’em up: Don’t stifle negative emotions in order to be positive. “Bottling up those emotions makes it very difficult to appreciate, enjoy, and gain the benefit of positive emotions,” said San Diego-based psychiatrist David M. Reiss.

By Dinsa Sachan for Rewire Me

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