Happiness – one of the most important deterrent’s of disease. Yep. Happiness. Over the years, we have done a lot of work on understanding stress. The breakdown of neurology that occurs under stress, and the ultimate decline in body functions.
Stress truly is death. I have seen it over the years play itself out in many patients, not to mention that using the pubmed tool to search for stress articles as they relate to mortality and morbidity, will open your eyes in ways you would not expect. Stress is killing our world.
So how do you combat stress? With happiness.
This article in the Huffington Post demonstrates 11 great reasons to smile and laugh. Here is one for you that you might find a little funny, who knows… it might make you smile :
In a 2012 study published in the journal Psychological Science, University of Kansas psychological scientists Tara Kraft and Sarah Pressman studied 170 participants who were told to hold chopsticks in their mouths in three formations, making them smile to various degrees without realizing it, after performing a stressful task. The experiment revealed that subjects who smiled the biggest with the chopsticks experienced a substantial reduction in heart rate and quicker stress recovery compared to those whose expressions remained neutral.
Or, how about this amazing TED talk about how your posture will immediately impact the level of testosterone and or cortisol in the body! This was truly an amazing discovery for me, as it relates potentially to both a physical relationship (meaning, your posture has immediate impact on your nervous system, which would in turn impact your function). Second, the actual emotional response of your posture. The researcher describes the “Power Position” as a position that you take, that gives you a confident posture, and will immediately increase testosterone in the blood stream, and decrease cortisol production. Cortisol – the stress hormone that when over produced causes a host of problems.
Find the talk here : https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are
Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success. (Note: Some of the findings presented in this talk have been referenced in an ongoing debate among social scientists about robustness and reproducibility. Read Amy Cuddy’s response under “Learn more” below.)
This time of year is a catalyst for joy… or stress. In the end, it is up to you. But, as I read through the value of finding joy, of smiling, of taking yourself to a level of happiness that is your pinnacle. I see there is both huge health benefit, as well as the obvious daily benefit of being HAPPIER. Wow. What a cool concept, living a life of Joy.
I have at times, been bold enough to ask bitter people, “Do you enjoy life”? I have found it odd how many people will literally answer, “NO”. Really? I mean, we all get it, when you see somebody who appears to not enjoy life… but why would they not put every effort into changing?
I believe you will live forever. But, I believe this one life, shapes the face of the rest of it. I believe that the pre-tense is the path. That your time here is invaluable as it directly shapes the forever future. But even if I am wrong, I think it is worth it for today to find joy.
I have had a few months where I will play the audio of certain comedians in the car while driving my kids to school. I have to say, it is awesome to have a car full of laughing people at the start of another day of school… you should try it. And…
Be well and Be blessed! – Dr. E