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Blog: MenoPause ~ take time to think about it

Don’t worry, be (heart) happy

by Margery Gass | May 21, 2013
Here’s a pleasant way to lessen your risk of cardiovascular disease: Get happier.

A 2007 study found that emotional vitality (a sense of enthusiasm, of hopefulness, of engagement in life, and the ability to face life’s stresses with emotional balance) appears to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

If only it were that easy! you say. Are there ways to feel more happiness as an adult woman, fully-formed and set in your ways? The science says yes. It’s never too late to cultivate good mental health, emotional and social competence, and resilience. Tried and true methods include psychotherapy, meditation, faith-based activities, sports, and spending time with friends. Anxiety and depression (as well as happiness and optimism) are forged by both nature and nurture and are only 40% to 50% heritable.

Finding a way to be in the moment, whether through playing music, practicing a sport, or engaging in any favorite pastime that allows you to lose yourself in the activity can help reduce stress and restore happiness.

Other ways to be happier:
  • Optimism
  • Creating a supportive network of family and friends
  • Being good at self-regulation (bouncing back from troubles by staying physically active, eating well, avoiding risky behaviors, and knowing things will eventually look up again)
  • Training your brain: buy an attractive little notebook or journal and list the positive things that happen each day. Focus on those as you are drifting off to sleep. We can practice focusing on the positive and get better at it.

And even if you try to cultivate more happiness in your life and find it’s not helping much, don’t fret, just wait a while: Happiness levels in the human lifespan have a U-shaped curve—people decline in happiness through their 40s and 50s (with the lowest point around age 46) then increase in happiness thereafter. It’s nice to know that scientific research shows that women in their 40s and 50s are going to feel happier as they grow older. Cheers!


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MenoPause: the blog!

Posts to our Blog are written by NAMS staff members and Dr. Margery Gass. All posts are reviewed and edited by Dr. Gass. We strive to bring you the most recent and interesting information about various aspect of menopause and midlife health. We accept no advertising for our website. We want you to have accurate, unbiased, evidence-based information. 

Margery L.S. Gass, MD, NCMP
NAMS Executive Director

An internationally recognized leader in the field of menopause, Dr. Gass became Executive Director of The North American Menopause Society in 2010. Dr. Gass has been an investigator on numerous research projects, including serving as a principal investigator for the Women’s Health Initiative, and has published and presented on a wide range of topics related to menopause, including osteoporosis, sexual dysfunction, and hormone therapy.

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