Page 13 - Senior Times South Central Michigan - February 2020 - 27-02
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Senior Times - February 2020 Page 13
 Happiness Combats Disease and
Disability – Happiness is associated with improvements in more severe, long-term con- ditions as well, not just shorter-term aches and pains. The results of an Australian study suggest that happiness and optimism may be protective against disease.
As adults become elderly, another condi- tion that often afflicts them is frailty, which is characterized by impaired strength, endur- ance, and balance and puts them at risk of disability and death. Happiness may reduce the impact of frailty.
five years than their unhappier counterparts. These two studies both measured specific
out time for yourself even if you have to plan it and align the sun, moon, and stars. You matter that much.
3. Fill your day with tiny things you love. Sometimes happiness is in the details. Make sure your daily details work for you. Just ask yourself: In what way can I introduce tiny things into my day that lifts my mood?
4. Do something new. It's easy to get stuck in routines. You can get renewed energy from trying something you've never tried before. New experiences remind us that we're alive and that life is full of surprises.
5. Craft your day to create a win. Instead of getting stuck in procrastination or lost in the midst of your TO DO list, determine the one thing you'd be most happy about accomplish- ing today and then tackle it. If you can name "your win" you're half way there.
6. Try movement. Exercise has a positive impact on mood. Even when you wear your- self out, you will feel better when you’re done.
7. Create a positivity jar. Place notes of positive events from your day in the jar. If you’re having a challenging day, pull one out and read it. You’ll smile.
Happiness Can Lengthen Our Lives – In the end, the ultimate health indicator might
be longevity – and here, especially, happiness comes into play. In perhaps the most famous study of happiness and longevity, the life expec- tancy of Catholic nuns was linked to the amount of positive emotion they expressed in an autobi- ographical essay they wrote upon entering their convent decades earlier, typically in their 20s. Researchers combed through these writing sam- ples for expressions of feelings like amusement, contentment, gratitude, and love. In the end, the happiest-seeming nuns lived a whopping 7-10 years longer than the least happy.
According to this study, if you have a friend who lives within a mile of you and that friend becomes happy, the odds of you also becoming happy increase by about 25 percent. The same was true for spouses (up to 16 percent improve- ment), siblings living within a mile (up to 28 percent), and next-door neighbors (up to 70 per- cent).
positive emotions, but overall satisfaction with one’s life – another major indicator of happiness – is also linked to longevity.
Surround Yourself With Happy People – A Framingham Heart Study seeks to answer one interesting question: does our happiness depend on the happiness levels of the people around us? The results of the study showed that to be pre- cisely the case.
  A 2004 study rated adults 65 and older on how much self-esteem, hope, happiness, and enjoyment they felt over the past week. After seven years, the participants with more posi- tive emotion ratings were less likely to be frail. Some of the same researchers also found that happier elderly people (by the same measure
of positive emotion) were less likely to have a stroke in the subsequent six years; this was par- ticularly true for men.
People who are surrounded by happy people are more likely to become happy in the future. What's more, the analysis revealed that this effect was the result of happiness spreading, not just an artifact of happy people tending to hang out with one another.
 What does all this mean? Surround your- self with happy people as much as possible, because it's very likely that their happiness will spread to you. And in turn, it will be good for your health.
Creating Happiness – Try some of these ideas to kick your quest for happiness into gear.
1. Write down your achievements. Train your mind to find the positive by listing your achievements. Write down physical achieve- ments, personal achievements, goals you've met, things you have done, and places you have visited.
2. Decide to make yourself a priority. Pay atten- tion to those activities that have a tendency to recharge your battery, so to speak. Carve
Now go do something to change your mood. Rather than waiting until the end of the day and all the responsibilities have been taken care of consider putting yourself first today.
 A 2011 study included nearly 4,000 English adults aged 52-79. They reported how happy, excited, and content they were multiple times in a single day. The happier people were 35 per- cent less likely to die over the course of about
Publisher’s note: While happiness can seem- ingly impact our lives in many positive ways,
it can’t perform miracles. Even still, it is safe to imagine that a happier you will be healthier, too. If you are experiencing difficulty finding happiness in life there are a variety of support groups that might help. They are found on page 5 of this issue. Talk to others from friends or family to professionals if need be. The potential benefit or possible consequences to your health could be worth it.
    Cereal City Concert Band Dr. Stephen White, Conductor
With Special Guest Saxophone Soloist, Ben Schmidt-Swartz
Sunday, February 23
Pennfield Performing Arts Center
                    Tickets at the door:
50/50 Raffle!
$10.00 Adults $5.00 Student & Seniors
Schedule a tour today
    Arbor Manor Rehabilitation & Nursing Center
151 Second St., Spring Arbor 517-750-1900
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Arbor View Estates
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Brooklyn Living Center
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151 Constitution Ave., Brooklyn
Deer Run Independent Villas
3700 S. Dearing Road., Spring Arbor
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Alzheimer’s Center
5025 Ann Arbor Rd., Jackson
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3700 S. Dearing Rd., Spring Arbor
Summit Park Assisted Living Center
2100 Park Rd., Jackson
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