By: Tracey L. Briggs, MA
In this month of cupid and hearts, let’s look at the benefits of seeing the world from a different lens and how that view can impact your heart health and wellbeing.
Stress and anger can breed poor health and heart disease. Much of what Employee Wellness teaches when it comes to stress management is to assist employees with recognizing that there are ways you can impact your heart health and even protect your heart by increasing your mindfulness, joy, positive attitude, and purpose.
Many of us are familiar with the negative emotional impacts associated with stress and anger, but there is also science to help explain how these emotions are degrading our physical health and how expressing positive emotions can translate to improved health outcomes. Dr. Karina Davidson led a study that tracked the emotions of over 1,700 participants for 10 years and found that people who regularly experienced negative emotions such as depression, hostility, and anxiety were at greater risk for heart disease. This finding is supported in another study conducted by Dr. Nancy Sin. Her study found that positive well-being reduced cardiovascular disease and improved immune function, among other health benefits.
Do you want to know how to seek a more meaningful, purpose-driven life? Here are a few suggestions to increase your positivity and motivation to be happy and flourish:
Spend time with people who inspire you.
Whether it is that incredible aunt or uncle who has traveled the world or your friend who volunteers at the local food kitchen, building in time to be in their presence and absorb their energy can fill you with hope and motivation. Remember, UNM policy supports your taking annual leave which can be your ticket to travel or to engage in community volunteerism. Inspirational people lead life by example, and their example is one that can provide you with the inspiration you need to find your happiness.
Take care of your health.
When we are suffering, we cannot thrive. Stay ahead with preventive care. Be proactive by scheduling and getting an annual checkup. You have access to medical coverage through UNM and if you do not have a primary care provider, get one and make an appointment in this new year.
Take care of your body.
Focus on moving more or eating a bit healthier to improve your wellbeing. Don’t know where to start? Begin by scheduling a consultation with a Benefit & Employee Wellness Health Education Consultant for knowledgeable support.
Martin Seligman, the father of modern Positive Psychology, provided a toolkit for creating a meaningful life. His recipe was one of practicing forgiveness for the past, gratitude, and mindfulness while living in the present, as well as hope and optimism for a future yet to be realized.
Whether you love a person, an animal, or a hobby, it is about having a passion for something or someone outside of ourselves. Supportive relationships provide us with benefits that offer extensive advantages for our involvement. During this month of love, I challenge you to (re)discover yours.