Simple Steps To A Happier Lifestyle

Sunday, 5 May 2013, 8:49:00 AM

Mark Underwood

With each generation, medical breakthroughs have helped

people live longer. But quality of life is one of the most important issues

most people face today.

That’s partially due to unhealthy lifestyles that many

people don’t know how to change. Americans work more hours and sleep less than

most other countries in the world. We lead busy lives, packed with stress, take

limited spans of vacation time, and we don’t spend enough time focusing energy

on improving the quality of our lives.

If you want to live a healthier, longer life that is

packed with quality, there are several things – easy things, you can do –

starting today.

Do You Need An “Oil Change?”

Have you ever noticed that we often do a better job

taking care of the machines around us than we do taking care of ourselves.

Just as our car requires attention, we need to keep a

positive outlook and continually renew our subscription to happiness.

One way to improve well-being is by alleviating stress.

Bottling up your emotions when dealing with stress is like allowing it to

ferment and turn into a potent problem.

You can also improve your physical and mental health by

stimulating key areas of the brain used for memory and concentration by staying


We now understand how important sleep is to our overall

mental and physical health. Many variables contribute to poor quality of sleep

but we do know that in older adults, sleep may help repair some of the damage

from aging brain cells. This damage may contribute to memory problems,

concentration and other important mental tasks.

How To Create A Happier Lifestyle

What can you do to keep your healthy and happy lifestyle

on track? Use these tips to get started.

• Go wild. Take a break in nature and go for a walk in a

park or a public green space. Being out and about can do wonders for your state

of mind.

• Book yourself. That’s right – put you on your schedule

to do things that make you happy. Many people find that if they put their name

on the daily calendar – like Susan- break time: 2-3 pm, crossword puzzles, walk

around the block – will accomplish tasks more often than not.

• Let in natural light. Research reported in a Lancet

study (2009) said that older people who lived near natural beauty might be able

to reduce stress and their blood pressure. The study showed that this group had longer telemeres, that’s the part

of the DNA string that shortens as someone ages. In other words many people who

were able to enjoy pleasant scenery every day not only felt younger, their DNA

reflected this.

• Sign up for Tai Chi. Research has shown that this age

old exercise that embraces the mind, body and spirit, can help physical

ailments like arthritis in creaky knees.

• Ramp up your social life. In a recent study The British Medical Journal found that

people over 75 who have a moderately active social network could expect to add

5.4 years to their life.

Keep Up Your Happiness Subscription

Remember, your quality of life goes hand in hand with

feeling rested and happy. Incorporate these ideas and you’ll be well on your

way to improving your life.

• Take time out for you.

• Maintain a positive

attitude. Stay focused on the good things going on in your life. Reflect on

your successes instead of things that are out of your control.

• Write down your

worries. Journaling what worries you may

help pinpoint the real core of some problem so you can work on them more


• Take one day at a time. Focus on making the most of the present


George Bernard Shaw wrote in his play Misalliance: “The secret of being

miserable is to have leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not. The

cure for it is occupation, because occupation means pre-occupation; and the

pre-occupied person is neither happy nor unhappy, but simply alive and active.

That is why it is necessary to happiness that one should be tired.”

Mark Underwood is a neuroscience researcher,

president, and co-founder of Quincy Bioscience, a biotech company located in

Madison, Wisconsin focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization

of novel technologies to support cognitive function and other age-related

health challenges such as memory. He has been taped as an expert in the field

of neuroscience for The Wall Street Journal Morning Radio, CBS, and CNN Radio

among others. He is also a contributor to the “Brain Health Guide” which highlights

the research at Quincy Bioscience and offers practical tips to help keep

healthy brain function in aging. More information can be found at

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