How to Increase Your Health and Happiness with Social Interaction

How to Increase Your Health and Happiness with Social Interaction & Community

Studies show that the more socially active a person is, the better their memory.

Practice: Be socially active. Call your family. Email old friends. Remember and acknowledge birthdays and special dates of friends and family. Develop new friendships. Be positive and keep a smile on your face. The best way to enter a room of people is to enter with a smile. Then everyone wants to get to know you.

Social situations can have a positive influence on your personal health choices.

Practice: Start a supper club that focuses on health. Get together with three or four other couples and share a healthy meal. Let each person be in charge of a different course that is easy and healthy. Share the recipes and start a file. Enjoy the conversation. Finish off the evening with a relaxing walk. If you have children, teach them healthy practices by including them in the event.

"Happiness is not a destination. It is a method of life." — Burton Hills

'Practice: Smile at five or more people daily. Choose to be happy—work at it. Think good thoughts. Do good things. Look for the positive. Appreciate the good in people. Do not ignore the people around you as you strive toward your dreams. Enjoy and appreciate those who are the landmarks along your journey. Make a list of your blessings. Reflect daily on them. Concentrate on the positive aspects of life.

Establishing a sense of community increases your health and happiness.

The encouragement of friends who have similar interests supports and strengthens your health goals and helps you to develop and attain positive health actions.

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Practice: If your social circle is small and time limits your ability to get involved in local or church events, try the Internet. Many websites sponsor chats and forums related to special interests. Develop a sense of community by chatting with others who have similar interests as you. Many wellness sites have chat rooms. Be selective about the sites you explore.

The earth provides us with so many wonderful resources—don't take her for granted.

Practice: Help out your environment. Join a volunteer organization or organize your own group that will strive to clean up a local stream or park. Not only will you provide a service to your community's environment, you will be filled with pride and a sense of accomplishment by making a difference. Don't forget to recycle. Help keep our resources to their maximum benefit for society.

Social interaction does not necessarily involve other humans.

Having a pet has been shown to:

• Lower blood pressure

• Aid in stress management

• Lower incidence of minor health problems

• Improve psychological well-being

• Reduce loneliness and isolation

• Reduce heart attack death

Practice: Consider adopting a pet. If you already have a pet, take advantage of the potential health benefits and spend time walking, petting, or playing with your pet. It's good for you!

People who workout together and share the same fitness goals are more likely to be successful.

Practice: Join an exercise group. Try an exercise class at a local gym. Join a walking/jogging club.

If there are no clubs of this sort in your area, or you would rather be surrounded with people you already know, head up your own group. Recruit friends, co-workers, or fellow church members. Meet three times a week for an evening walk, train for a 5K race together, or workout to an exercise video at someone's house. Encourage and motivate each other. Celebrate achievements.

Be accountable to a minimum of two people for your daily workouts. Social support systems of family and/or friends help you to achieve health goals you could not reach alone. Set a convenient time for your daily workouts that enables you to visit with a friend also.

©2003. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Quail Ridge Press.

This article was excerpted with permission from the book:

Simple Fitness For Your Body, Mind, and Spirit 
Joyce M. Yates & Amanda G. Conrad.

Simple Fitness by Joyce Yates and Amanda ConradThis book that pieces together the puzzle of conflicting health information to provide you with a simplified, easy-to-understand guide. There are no complicated fitness routines or diet plans--just the fundamentals necessary for a healthy life. Simple Fitness for Your Body, Mind, and Spirit concentrates on six key areas of health: physical, nutritional, intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual.

Info/Order this book.

About the Authors

Dr. Joyce Meek Yates, author of the article: Brain Training & ExerciseDr. Joyce is coordinator of the graduate program in health education in the Division of Health and Kinesiology at Mississippi University for Women. She has taught health and physical education in higher education for over 20 years. Dr. Yates, along with MUW graduate students, has enjoyed putting time and effort into the health education program "Commit To Be Fit" for the MUW campus and Columbus community. Dr. Yates received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Mississippi, and a Master of Science degree and a Doctor of Education degree from Mississippi State University.

Amanda Conrad, co-author of the article: Brain Training & ExerciseAmanda Conrad holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education, with a concentration in Fitness Management, and a second degree in Human Sciences, with a concentration in Food and Nutrition, both from Mississippi State University. She is a practicing National strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) certified personal trainer and Aerobic and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) certified fitness instructor. She firmly believes that those who desire physical fitness and improved health respond better to a simple approach.

Another article by these authors.


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