8 satisfying secrets of happy people

8 satisfying secrets of happy people

Adding these simple habits to your day may help boost happiness
Some people always seem to be cheerful and upbeat. So what’s their secret?

Turns out, it isn’t having loads of money or a perfect body, home or job. Instead, happy people tend to make time for healthy, fulfilling and feel-good activities.

Here are eight simple but powerful ways to follow their lead — and cultivate more happiness in your life:

1. Nurture social ties
Satisfying relationships help us feel fulfilled. But sometimes, time with others takes a backseat to the daily grind. A tip if you struggle with this: Make a point to connect with at least one friend or loved one each day.

Do you rely on texts, social media and email to stay in touch? That can be good. But don’t let technology entirely replace face-to-face time.

2. Give thanks — for joys big and small
Noticing and appreciating what’s good in your life can give you a happiness boost — even in rough times. So take moments to be grateful for a helpful co-worker, a cuddle from your pet or even just a really good hair day.

Even better: Make it a practice. Writing in a gratitude journal gives you a place to record and reminisce about all that’s right with your world.

3. Lend a hand
People who help others tend to feel happier. Consider volunteering regularly for a cause that’s important to you. And look for little ways every day to help out friends, family, colleagues or strangers — even if it’s just a kind word or caring ear.

4. Talk nicer to yourself
Do you tend to get down on yourself? Enjoy more happiness by questioning and countering your own negative thoughts. Research shows that by making positive shifts in thinking, over time, you can actually change your brain.

5. Find joy in moving
Exercise floods your brain with feel-good hormones. It can also help ease stress and anxiety. Find activities you enjoy — that keep you coming back for more.*

And here’s a happy little secret: Give yourself a quick mood booster with mini bursts of activity. Even a 10-minute walk or kitchen dance party can perk you up.

6. Create and play
Pursuing creative and playful activities can make you feel good. Whether it’s playing board games or air guitar, doodling or double Dutch, encouraging your silly side can bring you joy.

7. Get your pillow time
It’s no surprise we’re happier when we’re well-rested. In fact, getting quality sleep may help reduce the risk for anxiety and depression. Aim for a good seven to nine hours of slumber — for better health and happiness.

8. Look on the brighter side
The next time you’re faced with a negative situation, look for the silver lining. Did you manage it OK or learn something new? Nobody’s life is perfect. But focusing on the good instead of the bad can help tough times seem more manageable.

Remember, you have choices. You may find your bliss by choosing those that add more meaning to your life. And that’s certainly something to be happy about.

-Originally published by United Healthcare

Leafy Greens, Every Day, May Keep Glaucoma Away

New research indicates that leafy greens may be even healthier than we thought. While veggies like spinach, kale and collard greens may not be able to cure glaucoma, eating them regularly may help protect you against ever developing the most common form of the disease, known as primary open angle glaucoma (POAG).

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School followed more than 100,000 men and women who were enrolled in two major medical studies for a period of more than 28 years. Everyone in these studies was 40 years or older, and none had glaucoma at the start of the study.

Kale

The patients received eye exams every two years, and throughout the course of the studies, 1,483 people developed POAG. When the researchers looked at the diets of the study participants, they noted a strong similarity among those who did not develop glaucoma — these people ate more leafy greens. In fact, greater intake of green leafy vegetables was associated with a 20 percent to 30 percent lower risk of POAG.

The association was even stronger for POAG with early paracentral visual field loss, a common subtype of POAG. The research revealed that people who ate a lot of leafy greens had a 40 percent to 50 percent lower risk of acquiring this form of the disease.

The reason these super foods offer such great protection is related to the dietary nitrate they contain. It’s thought that glaucoma impairs blood flow to the optic nerve. Nitric oxide helps regulate this flow. Since leafy greens contain high levels of nitrates, the precursor to nitric oxide, consuming them likely keeps things running more smoothly.

A significant amount of other new research is currently aimed at developing therapeutics that treat glaucoma by way of nitric oxide. In fact, the FDA is reviewing at least one new medication that donates nitric oxide. But thanks to this latest report, far fewer people will need it if they load up on leafy greens before any glaucomatous damage is done.

So just how much roughage do you need to eat to protect yourself from glaucoma? In this study, those who consumed the most leafy greens averaged about 1.5 servings per day, which equates to about one and a half cups.

The study was published in JAMA Ophthalmology this month — A.H.

This article was originally published on the All About Vision website.