Design a beautiful day today

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

Martin SeligmanRegular readers will already know that I’m a fan of Dr. Martin Seligman’s work. He’s the author of Learned Optimism and a number of other books I’ve found useful, especially for those of us who have been body-slammed by a life-altering medical diagnosis and are trying to somehow salvage some shred of sense-making out of the whole mess. 

Oh, sure. You may already be thinking: it’s so easy for healthy people to feel positive. But what about when you’re a patient living with debilitating symptoms, hospital admissions, fistfuls of meds, scary side effects, diagnostic tests, medical appointments, hospital re-admissions, and distressing procedures? Don’t you need to be healthy to be truly happy? Continue reading “Design a beautiful day today”

Three types of heart happiness defined

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

Dr. Martin Seligman is considered the father of what’s known as the positive psychology movement. He was once elected president of the American Psychological Association by the largest vote in that organization’s history, which must have made this self-described “natural born pessimist” feel almost happy. He’s also the author of a book that I often recommend to heart patients called Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life. This gem, originally published 20 years ago, is still a valuable tool for learning skills that decades of research have shown may actually enhance our sense of wellbeing – a commodity that’s in short supply for the freshly-diagnosed heart patient. Dr. Seligman lists some basic identifiable types of the elusive state we call happiness:

‘Happiness’ is a scientifically unwieldy notion, but there are three different forms of it you can pursue:   Continue reading “Three types of heart happiness defined”

Three things that make you happy – and three things that won’t

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

It turns out that feeling happy can actually improve our overall physical health – but there’s a catch.  According to an article in Harvard Medical School’s HealthBeat last month, positive emotions may need to be longterm in order to produce good health. In other words:

“Thinking positive thoughts for a month when you already have heart disease won’t cure the disease. But lowering your stress levels over a period of years with a positive outlook and relaxation techniques could reduce your risk of heart problems.”  

Continue reading “Three things that make you happy – and three things that won’t”