Saying Hello is Good for you Health

I remember when Dali first joined our family, we lived in a downtown area.  She was about six months old, maybe close to a year and filled with energy.  She loved saying hello to people, all people.  She would go up to everyone and greet them.  And most people responded in kind, although there were always some who were busy or didn’t want to be bothered, which was no problem for Dali.  She would just move on to the next person.  Though she is nearing 14 years old, she still goes out of her way to greet people and it is clear how happy this interaction makes her.

Social interaction makes a big difference in our health.  It is as important as eating healthy and exercising.

In this seven-minute segment, Shankar Vedantam focuses on the health impacts of social isolation for men, but it has good information for everyone.

 

Researchers Examine What Social Isolation Can Do To Men’s Health

https://www.npr.org/2018/08/21/640437965/researchers-examine-what-social-isolation-can-do-to-mens-health

 

Take time to connect with other people.  Say hello to others on the bus or subway.  Or when you’re on line.  Strike up a conversation with a bank teller or cashier.  I know from my experience, though brief, these interactions can boost my mood.

 

 

 

(Professional Website:  http://www.BethLevineCounseling.com)

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Laugh Out Loud

Oskar has a sense of humor.

 

 

He will stand at the top of the stairs and push a tennis ball to me at the bottom.  When I get it, I throw it back – down the hall – so he has to run and get it.  He’ll go back to the top of the stairs and wait for me to sit down on the couch and then he will push the ball down the stairs again, so I hear a thump, thump, thump as the ball bounces down the stairs.

As he grew up in our family, and I would give a chew treat to both him and Dali.  He would hide his treat when I wasn’t looking and then give me this look like something happened to his chewy and he didn’t know what it was.  I was thinking maybe Dali was taking it so I’d give him another.  Until one day, I don’t remember why, I thought to look around the house and saw that he was hiding them.  When he realized I was on to him, he stopped his prank.

There are other things he does in the moment and I find myself cracking up.  I look at him and he has a big smile on his face.  We connect over the moment of playfulness and I feel lighter and joyful.

Laughing boosts the immune system and relieves stress, depression, anxiety, pain and social conflict.  Be sure to watch a funny video, movie, spend time with friends who make you laugh, or find other things that make you LOL on a regular basis.

https://www.webmd.com/women/especially-for-women-15/video-balance-laughter

 

 

 

 

Professional Website:  http://www.BethLevineCounseling.com

Everyday Beauty

birdonmountain

 

Walks with my dogs help me not only to get outside and get exercise, but also savor the pleasant and interesting things around me.  Just this morning, I saw a baby fox looking at us from a safe distance.  Often, I take a photo of what I am enjoying (unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of the fox) which helps me amass a riches of positive feelings.  Taking time to stop and smell the roses boosts my positive emotions.

oldtreeroots

In our daily lives, we are often distracted by our thoughts or tasks at hand, so it is good to purposefully take some time to notice and savor positive things around us.  This is one thing we can do to increase our happiness.  A trip to the Bahamas or Belize, though awesome, is not needed for us to savor the everyday beauty around us.

redtreeagainstblue

If you like, try taking a short walk of about 15 – 20 minutes each day, or however often works for you.  Use your different senses to notice some charm in the moment.  Feel the cool breeze on your skin.  Notice the dramatic cloud formation.  Smell the roses.  Keeping a written journal or a photographic journal is an additional way to accumulate a treasure chest filled with simple pleasures.

windshielffrozen

The photos on this blog are some of the visual treats I’ve enjoyed.  Most are from walks with my dogs, but some are from walks I’ve taken without Dali and Oskar.  Yes, that does happen from time to time.  I hope you enjoy.

sunset2

And if you decide to give this “helpful hint” a try, feel free to let me know how it goes by writing below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(professional website:  http://www.BethLevineCounseling.com)

The Energy Within

 

I went for a hike on both Saturday and Sunday this past weekend.

Being in nature.  Hearing the birds.  Getting my body moving.

I returned, energized to work on projects I’d been avoiding.

Want to create change?  Pump up your energy.

Connecting with your body in a slow, gentle way is important, but so is experiencing the joy and excitement of movement.

I remember taking a dance class many years ago.  We’d learn steps and then dance to pounding music.  I left feeling like I could take on the world.

So walk, dance, move and experience the energy within you.

Good for your heart and good for your soul.

 

 

 

(professional website:  www.BethLevineCounseling.com)

Leading a Meaningful Life

 

 

How do you find your purpose?

If you’re interested in finding meaning in your life, then I recommend this article:

You Don’t Find Your Purpose — You Build It

https://hbr.org/2017/10/you-dont-find-your-purpose-you-build-it

 

It is a short article, but my summary below is even shorter.

  1. We need to make meaning in what we do.
  2. There are multiple sources of meaning in our lives.
  3. Our sense of purpose is likely to evolve over time.

Here’s to the adventure of bestowing meaning on what we do.

 

 

 

 

(professional website:  http://www.bethlevinecounseling.com)

Love Knows No Bounds

 

Her age shows

as I watch Dali

my companion

a 13-year-old terrier mix

sleep

her head

on the bed

looks heavy

it strikes me as odd

that a head

on a bed

can look so heavy

when it’s just a head

on a bed

but there is a weight

to her body

that is different now

different than even a few months ago

like she’s wrapped herself in a thick blanket

of dreams

embracing a vacation from wakefulness

Where are you

What are you doing

in your faraway land

Are you still young

in this fantasy

faster than all the dogs

leaping into car windows

chasing squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, deer

free of the pain in your leg

We’ve shared a lot of life

We know each other well

What will my world be like

when I turn my head to the left

in bed

and you’re not there

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(professional website:  http://www.bethlevinecounseling.com)

Reflecting on this Past Year*

 

 

Even if you don’t like making New Year’s Resolutions, the beginning of a new year can be a good time to reminisce on the passing year.  It can be beneficial for us to highlight certain memories.  Specifically, we can benefit from reflecting on:

  • a time when we successfully dealt with a challenging situation, and
  • an experience that shaped the person we are today.

Research shows that this exercise is uplifting because it promotes resilience and self-exploration.

You might want to take a few minutes of quiet time to come up with at least one example of  each of the above situations.  Maybe you would like to journal your examples.  It might be fun to gather with one or two friends and share your responses.  Of course, feel free to share below.

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

*From How to Find Happiness When You Reflect on the Past Year (https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_find_happiness_when_you_reflect_on_the_past_year?utm_source=Greater+Good+Science+Center&utm_campaign=d4b50f449d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_January_Theme&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5ae73e326e-d4b50f449d-52221859)

 

 

(professional website:  http://www.bethlevinecounseling.com)