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Yours in Health: Is there a science to being happy?

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There are ways in which we can live an authentically happy life. Here are some strategies and

simple wellness routines to do day to day in order to improve your general well-being.

Exercise. Exercising daily can help lift your mood and boost your well-being. A study conducted at the Cooper Research Institute proved that 35 minutes of walking six days a week reduced depression by 47 percent in participating individuals. Go for a walk with a friend or take your pet for a walk daily, the fresh air and vitamin D will help you feel uplifted.

Eat living, healthy food. I often remind myself of the phrase “you are what you eat, and your food is thy medicine.” Eating organic, whole foods versus processed foods is a surefire way to feel better from the inside out. Eating excess sugar and alcohols can make you feel sluggish, tired and decrease your drive. Physiologically, alcohol decreases serotonin, the feel-good brain neurotransmitter.

Get outside in nature. Living where we do, it’s impossible to avoid getting outside and being in the sunshine. A research study done at Stanford looked at the effect time spent outdoors has on the brain. One study group walked outside for 90 minutes in a grassland setting while the other group walked in a heavy-traffic area. The group that did the “nature walk” had noticeable changes in brain activity and negative thoughts decreased dramatically.

Self-care. If you don’t take care of yourself no one will. It is tough to be the best mom, dad, wife, husband, friend or employee if you are not taking time for yourself daily. Try to wake up 10 minutes early to do a quiet meditation, or take a bath at the end of your day.

Herbs and supplements. With today’s diet, it is nearly impossible to eat all the nutrients we need to be healthy. Understanding and addressing which vitamin and mineral deficiencies you have will help you feel better. Consulting a holistic care provider or nutritionist is a great way to find out where you may be out of balance.

Raise your vibration. Consistent negative thought patterns will perpetuate negative outcomes. Thoughts become things, and things become actions. If you are chronically negative, your life will be negative. If you can be positive and optimistic your life will reflect that.

Feel supported. Having a circle of supportive friends and family is vital to being happy. Social connections are an important part of human nature. Studies have shown that feeling disconnected causes an increase in addictive behavior and a decrease in life expectancy.

Clear suppressed emotions. We all have emotional struggles in our life. Learning where you suppress your emotions will increase your well-being and decrease stress. Learning stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, counseling, neuro-emotional technique and using homeopathic remedies is helpful.

Listen to your inner intuition. We all have a gut instinct and inner intuition; we may even call it our conscious. If you learn to listen to the messages you receive daily, you will live a happy, fuller life.

Have a deep spiritual connection. Whether it is nature, going to church or having a spiritual practice, having a higher purpose and connection will make you a more empathetic individual and higher functioning human being.

Dr. Andrea Wick is a chiropractor and applied kinesiologist. She graduated from Life University in Marietta, Georgia, and now practices at Healing Hands Chiropractic in Big Sky. She has a passion for holistic health care and being active in the outdoors.

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