In 2021, we began examining the link between happiness and health. As the Annual Review of Public Health notes, there is ample evidence to support the idea that feelings of happiness are associated with better health. The link between happiness and good health is too strong to ignore! This year, we continue to encourage our members, team, and loved ones to “Choose Happy” because “Healthy Starts with Happy.” Let’s explore ways to keep the momentum going and continue to “Choose Happy” together.
“Choose Happy” by making connections
Building connections can create and feed happiness. Be open to making new friends and creating new experiences! You might already be familiar with Blue Zones, LLC— a community well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through changes to environment. It emphasizes the importance of happiness in its Power 9® principles. As Blue Zones founder Dan Buettner says, we are happiest when we socialize and connect with people each day. To “Choose Happy” through your connections, invest in your community, family and friends.
There are plenty of ways to connect with your community through classes, clubs, events and volunteer opportunities. Aspire offers several different ways to connect with other seniors in Monterey County. You can try one of our Community Connections classes. Community Connections classes offer educational, fun and free classes on wellness, nutrition, retirement planning and more. You can also learn about our plan from one of our healthcare ambassadors or stop by and see us at community events. “Like” us on Facebook to stay up-to-date on all our upcoming events, and for even more ideas, check out our list of local clubs and community centers!
Spending time with family, friends and colleagues can be a great way to boost your happiness. In its Power 9® principles, the Blue Zones suggests finding the Right Tribe helps support healthy behavior. If you are starting a new exercise regime or diet, ask your family, friends, or coworkers to help support you or join in! You can try cooking a healthy meal or taking a walk every day together. Getting healthier with other people can be encouraging and motivating for everyone.
“Choose Happy” through exercise and nutrition
Food and exercise can have a big impact on your happiness! As Harvard Health explains, exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones and stimulates the production of brain chemicals like endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. Exercise helps you maintain quality of life, mobility, and prevents chronic disease. Try low-impact aerobics, progressive strength training, Pilates, or gentle yoga.
Diet is also associated with a better mood. According to the Blue Zones, making changes to your diet, such as increasing intake of fruits and vegetables and focusing on plant matter with a diet like the Mediterranean diet, can help elevate your mood. The Mediterranean diet includes lots of vegetables and olive oil, some fish, smaller amounts of dairy and meat products. Sticking to a Mediterranean diet can aid in weight management, lower your risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Aspire provides support for every area of your healthy life! Our Community Connection classes cover a variety of health-related topics like tips for diabetes management and the Mediterranean Diet. Aspire Health Plan members can also take advantage of their fitness benefit, designed to help you get out and get active! Learn more about our health and wellness benefits by visiting our website.
We can also provide one-on-one support from health coaches. Our coaches help members gain perspective on all aspects of their lifestyle habits and routines. These include how we eat and shop for foods, how much we move our bodies, and how we manage our time, stress, and sleep schedules. The goal of the health coaching program is to help our members learn skills and become their own advocate, their own coach, and a compassionate, caring person toward themselves. Learn more about working with a healthcare coach by reading our blog or by calling (831) 644-7490.
“Choose Happy” by finding your purpose
Finding your purpose in life allows you to build happiness. According to the Blue Zones, research suggests that you could be living up to seven years longer if you have a sense of purpose. You can increase your sense of purpose by cultivating new skills, gratitude and kindness.
The Blue Zones Project® – Monterey County offers Purpose Workshops to help people find clarity of purpose and discover or rediscover their gifts and talents. The goal is to allow people to walk away encouraged and equipped with a purpose statement as well as tools for living a more purposeful life. Our monthly Community Connections classes can also help you create your purpose and vision through activities like creating a vision board or a visual representation of the things you want to have in your life.
To learn more about creating your purpose, check out our blog. We’ve written several blogs all about creating purpose and vision in your life, such as:
- How to phase into retirement and find purpose and fulfillment
- How to start your new year with purpose and vision
- How to create a wellness vision and take charge of your thoughts
We look forward to hearing about all the new ways you will find to “Choose Happy” this year… and beyond! For inspiration, check out some of the other “Choose Happy” blog posts we’ve published. And follow along on our blog and social media pages (Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn) and share your journey with us using the hashtag #AspireChooseHappy.