Like the treasures of the Sierra Madre, happiness sometimes seems more myth than reality. But we YOU Docs want to help you to pursue the real thing. You deserve true happiness, and much of your emotional and physical health depends on it. Positive emotions cancel out stress-related risks such as heart disease and cancer, and make you younger.
So how do you get happy? Follow these seven steps:
1. Talk nice to yourself. Trade put-downs (What an idiot I am!) for encouraging words (Nice going!).
2. Connect. Really talk with people you care about. Get physical, too. Hugs stimulate oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone,” spreading a feel-good boost.
3. Keep a daily gratitude journal. Writing down what you are thankful for makes you healthier and more optimistic.
4. Don’t sit around. Being active at least 30 minutes a day boosts happiness — and makes your body’s RealAge seven or more years younger.
5. Meditate. It eases stress, strengthens immunity, ups happiness — big time.
6. Understand unhappiness. When it happens (it will), learn from it. It’s a chance for you to make positive changes.
7. Go for gentle and generous. The real secret to being happy may be realizing that true peace is about slowing down enough to recognize the gifts you have — gifts you can be passing along to others.
The payoff? Huge. You’ll be better able to cope with stress or pain and to fight off colds, flu, heart disease, even cancer. And a big plus: You’ll be happier!
WAYS TO AVOID TYPE 2 DIABETES
Put that doughnut down! There are sweeter choices for the 79 million adult Americans with prediabetes — a condition that makes blood-sugar levels too high to be healthy, but not high enough to qualify for full-blown diabetes.
Walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week (we would prefer seven), and losing 5 percent to 10 percent of your body weight can slash your risk of sliding into Type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. But if you have trouble sticking to that tried-and-true approach, here are some clever ways to dodge the diabetes bullet.
Put red to bed: Bye-bye, beef. One palm-size daily serving ups your diabetes risk 19 percent. Gobble down a hot dog, a sausage patty or two bacon strips daily, and your risk soars 51 percent.
Write what you bite: If you keep a diary of what you eat each day, it can double your weight loss — and that is a big part of the prevention plan.
Be a busy bawdy: Sex eases stress and increases self-esteem — and that helps you make healthier food and activity choices.
Visit Corfu: A Mediterranean diet (veggies, fruits, nuts, olive oil, seafood, not much dairy or meat) slashes your risk of Type 2 by 83 percent.
Go with Joe: Coffee. That’s right, three cups a day decreases your risk of Type 2.
The YOU Docs, Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen of the Cleveland Clinic, are authors of “YOU: Losing Weight.” For more information go to www.RealAge.com.