You may have noticed by now that I am really interested in human behavior. Especially how we can be closer to the people who are important to us. Of course, good health is one of the ways that we can be closer, simply being alive and able to interact is (obviously) important and that’s why I write for Minute Movement. But there are other things that we can do to foster intimacy in our personal relationships.
I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this article since I read it last week. It showcases a recent study in Australia that appears to show that physical and emotional closeness with a loved one can reduce situational stress.
Before you get too excited, remember that the study only explored the subject within the context of the Mother-Daughter relationship, so it’s not safe to assume that the results can be expected with other relationships.
The researchers concluded that having ‘a strong relationship with a loved one can help ease stress when placed in difficult situations’, in essence, these family pairs were sharing the emotional load of one another (conversely, ‘individuals function at a relative deficit when they are farther away from people they trust’). Isn’t that amazing?
The Mother/Daughter groups rated the level of closeness in their relationship prior to the girls giving a speech while the researchers tracked their level of stress. The stress levels that the daughters experienced during the speech was reduced when their mothers held their hands – regardless of how they had rated their relationship. The girls whose mothers did not hold their hands but reported a close relationship with their mothers also experienced less stress than the girls who spoke alone and didn’t feel close to their mothers.
So there you go – cultivate your relationships – the benefits are immeasurable and it’s a fantastic way to …
Make Your Minutes Matter!
PS – I picked the colors in the graphic above because they are my daughter’s favorites. 🙂
I know that most people focus on gratitude in early November but I’m a bit of a rebel. While I think calendar events that encourage self reflection are great, they should serve as reminders to get back on track instead of creating finite pockets of contemplation on various aspects of our lives. No one would argue that we should save love and romance for Valentine’s Day so why should we regulate thanksgiving to the month of November? This week (just before the Christmas rush really sets in) seems like the perfect time to practice the art of gratitude (which is expressing appreciation for what you have instead of focusing on your wants or needs).
My research unearthed several studies that were similar to one another both in format and outcome. In each of these studies, researchers instructed three groups of participants to journal about events or circumstances that had recently affected them. One group was told to focus their journal entries on events that they were grateful for, another on events that had displeased them, and the final (control) group was not given direction regarding the focus of their entries.
The studies found that people who practice gratitude (and this IS a practice, more about that tomorrow) enjoy a multitude of positive side effects in many aspects of their lives.
EMOTIONALLY, grateful people tend to experience higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, and optimism. They reported more satisfaction with their lives as a whole, and lower levels of depression and stress. In fact one study showed that practicing gratitude can increase happiness levels by about 25% (even to the extent that “Spouses of the participants in the gratitude group reported that the participants appeared to have higher subjective well-being than did the spouses of the participants in the control group.”
Grateful people reported fewer HEALTH complaints, better energy, more regular exercise, more (refreshing) sleep and even a stronger immune system (according to Robert Emmons, Ph.D.,professor of psychology, and author of “Gratitude Works! A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity.” Gratitude functions as “a psychological immune system that bulletproofs you in times of crisis,”)
Of course, being grateful also impacts our SOCIAL lives, leaving us feeling considerably more connected with others – which makes us more likely to help them with their emotional or personal problems.
And for those of us struggling to make ends meet, gratitude appears to help us make greater progress toward achieving personal goals (SUCCESS), for all of the reasons above and because people who practice gratitude tend to be more creative, bounce back from adversity more quickly, and have stronger relationships (which can be a plus when you want to move up the corporate ladder).
So, it looks like gratitude really can make you happier and healthier but what if you just aren’t a very grateful person? Does that mean you’re doomed to never reach the heights of the grateful? Research does suggest that your body strives to maintain a basic level of happiness at a predetermined point similar to the way it strives to maintain a certain weight that feels natural, so when something bad happens to you, your happiness may drop for a while but will return to it’s natural ‘happiness set-point’. But deliberately practicing gratitude can raise your “happiness set-point”, allowing you to remain at a higher level of happiness regardless of outside circumstances. Check back tomorrow for a list of our favorite ways to increase your gratitude every day.
I read this aloud every morning, it puts me in the right mindset to begin my day. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
I promise myself…
To be so strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, & prosperity to every person I meet.
To make all my friends feel that there is
something worthwhile in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything
& make my optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best,
& to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as I am about my own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on
to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful expression at all times &
give a smile to every living creature I meet.
To give so much time to improving myself
that I have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
& too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of myself & to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud word, but in great deeds.
To live in the faith that the whole world is on my side,
so long as I am true to the best that is in me.
–Christian D. Larson
Many of you may be wondering how I developed the Minute Movement. Well, I came up with the basic idea several years ago but did not put it into action until recently. I am a full-time home mortgage lender with a busy schedule revolving around work and family. And like many people, I had difficulty finding the time to exercise. Until one day, feeling fed up and frustrated, the motivating factor appeared. I was asked to be best man in my brother’s wedding. Suddenly, I knew I had to spring into action if I wanted to look good for the wedding. I planned out a few simple routines and the next morning got started at my office.
This routine of one-minute intensive exercises exceeded my expectations. By the second week, I was amazed by how good I felt. After three weeks, my wife noticed that I looked fit and had more energy. So, I shared my secret with her and the Minute Movement was born.
What exactly is the Minute Movement?
The Minute Movement is a unique blend of one-minute Isometric and Isotonic exercises, which produce maximum results from minimal effort. It’s a patent pending health, wellness and strength system designed for busy people who know they should be exercising, but simply do not have the time.
It keeps you energized throughout the day. It helps you manage your time more effectively. The program is designed for men and woman of any age or fitness level. This is the quickest and most efficient way to maintain your health and strength because it can be accomplished effectively anytime and anywhere.