Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Happiness Wards Off Heart Disease

From a new study found on BBC News comes information that making yourself happy and staying happy can also make you healthier . . .

Happiness wards off heart disease, study suggests

Being happy and staying positive may help ward off heart disease, a study suggests.
US researchers monitored the health of 1,700 people over 10 years, finding the most anxious and depressed were at the highest risk of the disease.

They could not categorically prove happiness was protective, but said people should try to enjoy themselves.

But experts suggested the findings may be of limited use as an individual’s approach to life was often ingrained.

At the start of the study, which was published in the European Heart Journal, participants were assessed for emotions ranging from hostility and anxiousness to joy, enthusiasm and contentment.

They were given a rating on a five-point scale to score their level of positive emotions.
By the end of the analysis, some 145 had developed heart disease – fewer than one in 10.
But for each rise in the happiness scale there was a 22% lower risk of developing heart disease.

The team believes happier people may have better sleeping patterns, be less liable to suffer stress and be more able to move on from upsetting experiences – all of which can put physical strain on the body.

Lead researcher Dr Karina Davidson admitted more research was needed into the link, but said she would still recommend that people try to develop a more positive outlook.
She said all too often people just waited for their “two weeks of vacation to have fun” when instead they should seek enjoyment each day.

“If you enjoy reading novels, but never get around to it, commit to getting 15 minutes or so of reading in.

“If walking or listening to music improves you mood, get those activities in your schedule.
“Essentially spending a few minutes each day truly relaxed and enjoying yourself is certainly good for your mental health and may improve your physical health as well.”

It is not the first study to suggest there is a link between happiness and health.

But Ellen Mason, of the British Heart Foundation, suggested such an association may be of limited value anyway.

“We know that improving your mood isn’t always easy – so we don’t know if it’s possible to change our natural levels of positivity.”

Cardiologist Iain Simpson, of the British Cardiovascular Society, added: “Things like reducing cholesterol and diabetes are more important when it comes to reducing heart disease.

“But at the end of the day it heart disease is still the biggest killer in the UK so anything you can do to help should not be ignored.”

February 23, 2010 Posted by | Aging, Health Issues, Living Conditions | Leave a comment

New Cat in Town

“It’s like bringing a new cat into the house,” I tell people when they ask about how I move so often, and how I have learned to survive, “You keep a new cat in a separate room while the other cat(s) get used to their smell, then you allow a little interaction, then a little more and it all works out. One cat may never warm up to a new cat, another cat will welcome it immediately.”

I’ve been that new cat. You walk carefully. You try to figure out how things work. You sort of walk around the edges of things. Occasionally, there will be a cat that doesn’t like me. I try to stay out of her way.

So on my way to church on Sunday, I was thinking about this move, and about how people and communities have rules they don’t even know they have. Like in Kuwait, I learned, when you make a condolence call, you are supposed to dress very simply and wear no make up. You keep your voice low, you stay only a certain amount of time. These rules aren’t written anywhere because, well, everyone who matters pretty much knows what they are . . .

You don’t think about going through cross-cultural experiences in your own country, but every community has its own uniqueness, its own differences.

I think about my home town of Edmonds, WA, where you never NEVER cross the street if the light is red, even if there are no cars visible for miles. It just isn’t done.

Even going to church can be a mine field. You would think that it would be a safe place, all these people of God, people of good will, gathered together. You would think that until you happened to sit by mistake in someone else’s place, a place they have sat every Sunday for forty years. Some people might handle it with grace, another might handle it with spite and malice.

There might be local customs I don’t know, like you don’t wear earrings during Lent (I made that up; it isn’t a rule, it is just an example of the kinds of things that can become custom) or you don’t park in this spot because Old Miss Rickety needs to park there. Every church passes the peace differently; even the liturgy, done in every church, has its quirks from congregation to congregation. Like the new cat, I kind of creep in to church quietly, look for an inconspicuous place, do my worship thing and leave quietly.

They need to get used to my smell, LLLOOLLLL. 🙂

February 23, 2010 Posted by | Biography, Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Relationships | Leave a comment

Warming Up in Pensacola

This guy hurts my eyes. I remember reading a book called Almost French, an Australian woman married a French guy, and one morning as she was about to run down to the boulangerie in her sweats, her French boyfriend had a very pained expression on his face and said “Please! Please put on something else! You don’t want to hurt people’s eyes!”

Pensacola is warming. No matter how much Pensacola warms, I think a shirt would be a good idea.

February 23, 2010 Posted by | Community, Cultural, Florida, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Weather | 8 Comments