We all know that less emotional stress will make us "happier," but did you know that it can also make you healthier?
There is an extensive body of medical research, extending back over the past few decades, showing a close link between emotional state and health. Depression, for instance, increases your risk of vascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke, cancer, and dementia. Of course the inverse is true as well, which is that more life satisfaction, and especially more contact with friends, family, and community involvement, reduce the risk of all these. For a quick look at this fascinating and important area of science, get Dean Ornish's book, Love and Survival, which does a nice job outlining the data.
Loneliness is probably the worst form of emotional stress, followed by toxic relationships at home or work. The good news, of course, is that good relationships, good work environments, and social connections all move your inner chemistry (and therefore the health needle) just as far in the good direction.
Have you been able to successfully minimize the emotional stress in your life? What steps have you taken to get to a healthy place?View Thread
Turns out, relationships -- interactions with your family or friends -- can change your physical chemistry in ways we never imagined. There are stunning effects on your long-term physical health -- a reduced risk of stroke and heart attack, for instance. And the effects on your brain are even greater! Your risk of Alzheimer's falls dramatically with social connection. And areas of your brain that can atrophy with loneliness and depression actually show re-growth with social connection, warmth, and engagement.
Friends and family can be your most powerful resource. Meaningful engagement with your community is also important. It can be an effective substitute for closer social ties if you've let go of those kinds of connections over the years.
Take a hard look at your social connections. Examine whether or not you are as deeply and meaningfully engaged as you really want it to be. If not, take steps today to change that! With all the social media available today, you can find friends you haven't been in touch with for decades. Reach out to the people around you and gain an understanding of your community's needs. This can give you opportunities to be involved and more widely connected with others.
Make this your project for today! Reach out to people you have lost touch with. Start making plans to get together on a regular basis. Take a close look at how you can volunteer and help others. Your altruism could have a wonderful effect on your biology.View Thread
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