Laughter

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and it can also help keep the blues at a good distance, too. What we eat greatly impacts our moods and emotional health, as well as our overall well-being, but food is not the only factor. In fact, several critical non-food factors can greatly improve your health. Just ask a truly healthy person how much time they spend doing the following.

Laughter: We all know it’s the best medicine, but it’s also an effective preventative. Experts have found that a sense of humor and not taking one’s self too seriously can lead to a happier disposition and healthier constitution.

Face Fears: Anticipation is often much more frightening than whatever it is we think we fear. For those who push through fear and resistance and find the thing we thought was so scary wasn’t actually all that bad, happiness comes much easier than for those who are too stifled by fear, and so does health. Suppressed fear has been linked to a number of chronic and acute illnesses.

Don’t Take it Personally: don Miguel Ruiz’s best-selling book The Four Agreements sheds light on a very important key to happiness: not taking other people’s shit personally. When we stop worrying about other people’s trauma and drama (and somehow making it about us, too), we are lighter and healthier in the long run.

Adventure: Exploring the world keeps us on our toes. It makes us truly present, and more our true selves as we navigate new terrain. This can inspire us with nature’s grace and beauty, and also, breaking routine can keep our minds healthier and more active (and our bodies, too!).

Community: People who are active in a community are also more likely to be happy and healthy. When we feel connected and important to others, it can also boost our happiness and joy and our immunity. The same goes for a healthy relationship.

Hobbies: Creative expression is critical for human health happiness. And while many of us might not experience that in our jobs, having a hobby as an outlet for creativity can allow for a healthy release and keep us more balanced.

Pets: Scores of studies have shown that people who own pets live longer, happier and healthier lives. While poop patrol may seem to be a daunting and annoying task, the unconditional love and often silly behaviors intrinsic to our animal friends makes happiness come all too easily. And caring for another is one of the best things for our health.

Nature: We’ve only moved into these modern dense, polluted and chaotic cities in the last century. And what we’ve sacrificed—authentic time in nature—is making us less happy and less healthy. Research shows just five minutes in nature (1-2-3-4-5!) can show a markedly improved mood, improve brain function and strengthen immunity.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Resources:

http://www.springerlink.com/content/1389-4978

http://www1.eur.nl/fsw/happiness/

http://www.toltecspirit.com/

Image: Pink Sherbet Photography