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Wellness is just not all about being free from disease or illness, but it must also address a person’s emotional and mental status. A key element of that is being happy; and not just having a great sense of humor, but having that essential feeling of being in a good place and having a positive attitude in general. Of course, we all have days where we may feel a little grumpy or out of sorts, and that’s normal – not every day is perfect weather and sunshine. Having those rough patches can make us appreciate the good days.
There has been a lot of research confirming how negativity and high stress can impact one’s health in a harmful way, for the short as well as long-term. To that end, then how does one stay positive and upbeat to reap those rewards of better health? There is an old saying that laughter is the best medicine, and when it’s shared, it’s even better. Have you ever tried not to smile at a giggling baby or at a baby animal learning to walk? Try to count how many times a day you actually laugh out loud. Do the same thing for children and see for yourself how much more they laugh. Of course, they don’t have the same responsibilities and stressors that adults do, but so often children laugh at the most seemingly inconsequential things.
Keeping a positive attitude can be challenging at times, but consider the small things in life that are good and enjoyable. Some people keep gratitude journals, listing 2-4 items every day that they are grateful for, no matter how small they may seem. Many of us tend to be grateful for a cup of hot coffee to get us going in the morning, others for the smell of cooking bacon, or even going on a leisurely walk with a friend.
What are you grateful for? What makes you smile and laugh out loud? Make your own list and on one of those days when things aren’t perfect, reflect back on those days where the sun was shining a little more brightly.
Author: Cheryl A. Acres RN, CCM