Want to be healthier?Learn To ENJOY more.

A new study has confirmed what many people already knew: the more time spent doing different types of enjoyable activities, the better a person’s health tends to be.

leisureImagesThe study says taking time for leisure activities apart from the demands of work and other responsibilities helps people function better physically and mentally.

“People who are engaged in multiple enjoyable activities are better off physically and psychologically,” said study co-author Karen Matthews, Ph.D. She is a professor of psychiatry, epidemiology and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

The study appears online in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine.

To reach the conclusion, 1,400 adults reported how often they participated in a variety of leisure activities, including spending time unwinding, visiting friends or family, going on vacation, going to clubs or religious activities or playing sports.

Adults with higher scores — indicating the most time spent in different leisure activities — had lower blood pressure, waist circumference, body mass index and cortisol measurements, all markers of good health.

“When one is under stress, the usual thing is to cut back on enjoyable activities because you’re feeling uncomfortable and you need more time to deal with the stress. But these data suggest that is the wrong thing to do and that continuing enjoyable activities you do can be helpful,” Matthews said.

People who spent more time doing diverse leisure activities also reported stronger and more diverse social networks, more feelings of satisfaction and engagement in their lives and lower levels of depression. Those who logged the most leisure time also slept better and exercised more consistently, the authors say.

Other studies have examined the link between specific activities, such as exercise, and improved physical and psychological health, but this is the first to show that the accumulation of multiple sources of enjoyable activity benefits health, Matthews said.

The study outcomes add to what we know about the connection between body and mind, said Kathy Richards, Ph.D., a registered nurse and professor of health promotion at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in Philadelphia.

“Although the amount of leisure time each person needs is highly individual, we all need to monitor our own bodies and stress levels and participate in leisure activities to have happy, healthy and productive lives,” Richards said.

Do you have leisure activities in your daily schedule? Have you already learned to be healthy?

Please share your experiences in the comments. Will give us all tips on how we can make our lives more enjoyable and healthy.

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Everything Happens For The Best….???

As we move on in life, we understand why we are denied certain things – and it may actually be a blessing in disguise!

icecream-cake“So, let’s put it like this: I asked for a small round ice-cream cake with a cherry on top…and I got a 3-tier German chocolate cake with an extra supply of  butter cookies!! 3tiergermanchocolatecake

Now, that’s great.

But the point is… where is my “small round ice-cream cake with a cherry on top?? Is that too much to ask for?”

No, it isn’t too much to ask for. It was never too much. But maybe someone thought they would give you more than you wanted assuming that would make you happier. But they assumed wrong, didn’t they? You wanted just that one small cake, and all the big ones in the world cannot make up for the fact that you didn’t get the one you really wanted.

Things don’t always work out exactly as you want them to. And if the intensity of the desire was strong, then even though you may have got much more than you wanted, the craving for that one thing that escapes you never really goes away.

Such disappointments occur when we allow our desires and dreams to overtake us and start living in anticipation of their fulfillment. A narrow focus makes us oblivious to all else but the goal in mind, very often blinding us to better options or greater pleasures just within our reach. A closed mind doesn’t allow us to enjoy that which we got instead of hankering after what escaped our clutches. And life carries on…a series of regrets and what ifs….

How does one avoid this trap? We all grow up hearing the adage – whatever happens, is for the best. And most of us grow up to believe it and pass it on to the next generation. Situations we have fought and protested against, turns of Fate we have cribbed about, or choices forced upon us that we have kicked out at – haven’t we all so often lived to bless these “adversities?”

In retrospect, much of what we desired and didn’t get later seems like stuff we are well rid of, be it a job, a car, some particular house, a dream or even a lover!

Life has a strange way of falling into a pattern as we move on, creating an interesting mosaic, which though unfathomable from near, assumes greater meaning as we move further away from it. There seems suddenly to have been a reason for whatever happened. Well, the reason was always there, I guess. Suddenly it seems comprehensible to us.

As we move away from a situation and move on in life, we understand why we were denied certain things and how not getting others that we coveted actually was a great blessing for us.

There seems to be a Power, someone up there who knows it all. Someone who has laid out the pattern and reveals it to us only bit by bit. As long as you trust in this, you may rest assured that life seems more manageable and you better equipped to handle it.

This serves as a great source of solace too. Whenever you don’t manage to get what you aimed for, you can always fall back on the face-saver that whatever happens, is for the best!

However, let’s not sound facetious here. If you believe in the Power that be, great, if you don’t then you have to believe that the only reason you seem better off without what you got is because you convince yourself into believing so, and it’s no better than a case of sour grapes!

I prefer to go with the first explanation…What about you?

with love Zeenat

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