The way we feel truly impacts our health. 70% of primary care visits are related to stress and lifestyle. When we are stressed, overwhelmed and/or sleep deprived, we are more likely to make poor decisions and less likely to adhere to healthful choices.
Stressors are inevitable; however, the way we train and shape our mind to interpret them is essential to our experience of stress and the impact it has on us. Clinical depression is associated with higher risks of cardiac disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.
These disease links are not something any of us should take lightly, regardless of our mental health diagnoses. Optimizing our mental health is directly linked to achieving our physical health goals. The mind is that powerful.
The field of positive psychology has uncovered the brain’s ability to choose how stress impacts our psyche, health and fitness. To achieve a balance of health and happiness, it is paramount to understand how positive psychology can influence and transform your journey to health and happiness.
Here are few practical techniques that can breed positive psychology. I encourage you to try them:
Count your blessings - perhaps share these with your family daily around the dinner table
Express gratitude - consider keeping a journal to write down daily gratitude
Meditate - this may rewire your brain toward more happiness
Regularly practice kindness
Exercise - this releases endorphins and boosts mood
If you are interested in learning more about positive psychology, I highly recommend Shawn Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage - it is so good!
John, Kelly, and Shull Jeni. Foundations of Lifestyle Medicine: The Lifestyle Medicine Board Review Manual. 2nd ed., American College of Lifestyle Medicine, 2019.