8 Attributes to be Happy, Healthy and Successful

Apr 28, 2014

kalfvin

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ProNexus, LLC is a supporter of LifeSpan, a not-for-profit agency in Rochester, NY that provides information, guidance and services to help older adults and caregivers take on longer life.  Recently, the ProNexus team attended the Lifespan Celebration of Aging luncheon which celebrates individuals who have ‘aged gratefully’ – local residents who have embraced their senior years and made significant contributions in the lives of others.  It was interesting to hear of the significant changes that will be seen across the country as the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation retires and becomes the largest percentage of the population.  By 2030, seniors will make up approximately 19% of the US population (NY is projected to see percentages above the US average, and Monroe County will be even higher than the state).  And with 10,000+ people per day reaching age 65 for the next 16 years, there will be impacts on the younger generations – particularly the ‘Generation X-ers’ and ‘Millenials’ that will play a significant caretaker role for the ‘Boomers’. With this change in demographics comes increased needs for support – not just for the ‘Boomers’, but the caretakers as well.

Naomi Judd (actress, movie star and six time Grammy award country singer) was the guest speaker at the Lifespan luncheon, and she spoke openly of her attitude toward aging, and how that attitude changed when she was diagnosed with Hepatitis C.  She won her battle with the disease in 1995, and spoke of how eight attributes assisted her in coping with this life-threatening diagnosis.  Stress is a part of everyone’s life, and as people, we all fill many roles within our day to day lives – parent, child, employee, spouse, etc.  Having these attributes, or developing them, can assist in coping with the many challenges that life throws at us.  Coincidently, these are also attributes that people who describe themselves as happy and/or successful possess:

  1. Faith (You are a spiritual being having a human experience.)  This can be applied in many different areas – practicing religion, or if you aren’t religious, then believing in a higher power and something bigger than ourselves. Faith helps us to determine our place in the world.
  2. Humor – Remember the saying ‘laughter is the best medicine?’ Even in stressful situations, maintaining a sense of humor and being able to smile can make anyone feel better.
  3. Support Systems – Research completed at Washington State University, as well as other studies, shows that humans demonstrate ‘pack’ behavior and at times this is necessary to maintain survival.  Surveys have proved time and time again that married people tend to be happier than unmarried people and that having a support system of 7-10 friends and loved ones, and contact at least 7 times a week with this support system, is ideal.
  4. Spending Time in Nature – There are many benefits that can be derived from spending time in nature, including improved physical and mental health.  Individuals who walk 15-30 minutes a day have significantly less health issues than those that don’t. Even the perceived presence of nature has improved health – an article in American Scientist indicates that hospital patients who have windows in their rooms have shown to overcome illness and take less medicine than those who do not have windows; and planting gardens and trees in urban areas has shown to provide a greater sense of security and safety than neighborhoods that do not.
  5. Managing Stress – Stress comes from various sources – jobs, spouses, children, parents, or internal stress – to name a few.  Being able to manage stress and not let it overwhelm you is an ongoing balance to be achieved.  Utilizing other points on this list can assist in managing it properly (i.e. healthy eating, regular exercise, maintaining a sense of humor, etc).
  6. Eating Healthy, Taking Vitamins/Supplements, and Exercising Regularly – The old adage, ‘if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything’ still rings true.  With all the sources of stress that we live with – it is important to take care of yourself first and ensure that you’re physical, emotional and mental needs are being met. 
  7. Having Goals and a Purpose – Successful people wake up and they’ve already planned their day, while unsuccessful people are scrambling to figure out what they need to do next. Their goals are very focused, big yet obtainable and are aligned to their strengths. They know what they are capable of and will invest all of their efforts in it, avoiding their weaknesses.
  8. Keeping an Open Belief System – Be curious, and always ask questions.  People who describe themselves as successful know that knowledge is the backbone of success and they are hungry for more information because the more they know the easier it makes it for them. They apply or take advantage of what they learn in life.

Overall, I believe these eight attributes can be summed up into one overarching ideal – achieving a balanced lifestyle.  Make sufficient time for work, family, play, and spirituality.  People who are employed full-time spend a large amount of their waking hours at work, but it is important to dedicate time for other things to ensure a happy and successful life.

For More information, or to speak with Amy, please send an e-mail to aellingworth@pronexusllc.com or call 315-857-3090.

REFERENCES:

http://www.naomijudd.com/hepatitisC.php

http://public.wsu.edu/~taflinge/socself.html

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/03/28/the-pursuit-of-happiness-characteristics-of-happy-people/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2013/12/17/14-things-every-successful-person-has-in-common/

http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/about/programs/gsv/pdfs/health_and_wellness.pdf

http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/2011/4/a-walk-in-the-woods

Post by Kaitlin Alfvin

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