We often hear that money can’t buy happiness. Of course, when the basic needs of life are unmet, money can often alleviate unhappiness. But true happiness comes from a state of satisfaction rather than an ability to buy more. However, money is not the only currency with which we can “buy” happiness. In fact, the most valuable currencies are good health and time. Furthermore, not only will physical well-being lead to happiness, but emotional contentment can bolster our physical health. As for the currency of time, we’ll save that for a future Partners in Health installment on productivity for enhancing men’s health. For now, here are seven things that you can do right now to make your life happier and healthier:
1.) Make a list—Every journey starts with a plan. This weekend, sit down and brainstorm a list of ten or more things that you would like to experience. Then commit to the top two items. Give yourself a deadline and share with a friend or family member who will hold you accountable.
2.) Form a team—During the pandemic, we often find ourselves isolated. Sure, we have Zoom calls to fulfill obligations, but these encounters are often not fulfilling. Find others who enjoy the same hobbies. Join a walking group. Form a book club. However simple, togetherness leads to fulfillment that could never be achieved alone. In the words of John Lennon, “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
3.) Go it alone—The pandemic has also created an increased demand for our resources. We need to create daily time for taking care of ourselves. Try to set aside 30 minutes or more in the middle of the day to take yourself away from your daily distractions. You will more than make up that time with increased productivity.
4.) Practice mindfulness—Those who have heard of mindfulness often associate it with meditation. However, mindfulness can take many forms. In its simplest form, mindfulness involves taking a few minutes every day to create self-awareness and awareness of one’s surroundings. By focusing on the present, we relieve the anguish associated with past stressors and future deadlines.
5.) Go to sleep—Are tired people grumpy? Ensure that you consistently have a full night’s rest. People who are sleep deprived have a five-times higher risk of depression.
6.) Exercise—Even a little exercise will elevate your mood. Make it a habit.
7.) Put it on the calendar—If it’s on the calendar, it is much more likely to be accomplished. Place all of the above items in time slots (yes, even your bedtime). If you miss an “event,” always reschedule it. Calendars work better than endless to-do lists.
Many men neglect their physical health. When it comes to emotional health, it’s often a joke. However, unhappiness is no laughing matter. Look for my article on “Balancing Stress for Better Men’s Health” in the next issue.
Scott D. Miller, MD, MBA, is the Medical Director of Robotic Surgery at Wellstar North Fulton Hospital. He is a urologist with Wellstar Urology in Roswell and has practiced in Atlanta for over 20 years. Wellstar North Fulton Hospital offers the Know Your Heart Screening that can determine your risk of heart disease, stroke and other serious conditions. Call 770-956-STAR (7827) to learn more or schedule an appointment
Scott D. Miller, MD, MBA Wellstar North Fulton Hospital • (470) 956-4230 • ScottDMillerMD.com