10 Easy Steps to Happiness That Really Work

 - by James Lovette-Black PhD
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A few years ago, a social experiment in improving happiness was undertaken in the village of Slough, England. Social researchers used known cognitive and social methods to improve the happiness of Slough and it actually worked. Measurements taken before and after the experiment showed a demonstrable rise in individual and collective happiness for the people of Slough.

Here are the 10 easy steps that were used:

  1. Plant something and nurture it
  2. Count your blessings – at least five – at the end of each day
  3. Take time to talk – have an hour-long conversation with a loved one each week
  4. Phone a friend whom you have not spoken to for a while and arrange to meet up
  5. Give yourself a treat every day and take the time to really enjoy it
  6. Have a good laugh at least once a day
  7. Get physical – exercise for half an hour three times a week
  8. Smile at or say hello to a stranger at least once each day
  9. Cut your TV viewing by half
  10. Spread some kindness – do a good turn for someone every day


Take one easy step and then add another every few days or perhaps have a 10 week plan: start with one step, add another the second week, etc., until you have all 10 steps in active daily use. You will actually be happier and so will your friends and those around you.


If we remember that knowledge of one’s ability to choose is empowering, then one is empowered to actively choose actions and activities that will bring happiness, gratitude, and optimism. These are core aspects of human wellness and they are easily nurtured and sustained.

Choose to practice happiness,  for wellness as individuals and in community.

Zest for Life and How Positive Emotions Enhance Wellness

 - by James Lovette-Black PhD
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womenlovinglife-300x233There is considerable evidence that simply becoming aware of the ability to choose and then choosing to see something healthy or to create something beneficial is an act of will (volitional) and a cognitive skill that can be used for a healthier and happier lifestyle. A daily mental health goal is to integrate positive, uplifting, and useful resources and tools into one’s living. Recently, two articles at Positive Psychology News Daily focused on creating wellness, optimism, and positive living.

Many are experiencing anxiety regarding the current global economic crisis and American political changes, as well as the political winds of change around the planet. It helps during such times to cultivate optimal wellness by:

  • affirming the joy and goodness in and around ourselves and taking actions to perpetuate it
  • minimizing exposure to negative sources: media, people, situations, etc.
  • supporting well-being by proper physical care of the body: eating nutritiously, sleeping adequately, stretching and moving our bodies with superior hygiene
  • nourishing and growing our connections with others, with animals, and with the Earth
  • sharing with others and caring for the Earth
Hands Across America and Around the World

We can choose to prosper or we can choose how we wish to respond to or interact with the external and objective events of the day, of our life, and of our world. It is an act of personal empowerment to responsibly create our lives. Let us choose to create a life of health, fitness, and happiness will emerge. @DoctorJames

9 Health and Fitness Ideas for Men

 - by James Lovette-Black PhD
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Three facts about men’s bodies from a recent Men’s Health issue:

  1. 38 hours is how long your metabolic rate stays elevated after an intense full body workout
  2. 30% improvement in flexibility acquired by older men after 16 weeks of intense full body workouts
  3. 18% more space taken by 1 pound of fat as compared to 1 pound of muscle


Given that so much is known about tobacco smoking, if you are smoking and want to improve your health, wellness, and life expectancy, choose to quit. There are many smoking cessation medications and programs that are effective. If a smoker persists in quitting, the potential for actually walking away from tobacco improves with each successive attempt to stop. So, if at first you don’t succeed in quitting, try again until you do succeed and your body will thank you. In one Colorado city, anti-smoking laws led to a 41% drop in hospitalizations due to heart attacks.

Four facts about tobacco smoking cessation and physical health:

  1. More than 20% of all American deaths are from smoking
  2. Smoking reduces lifespan by 13-15 years (Is that cigarette worth losing 20 minutes of your life?)
  3. 24 hours after smoking cessation, chance of heart attack decreases
  4. 2 weeks to 3 months after smoking cessation, 30% improvement in lung function

Leonardo da Vinci's ManTWO STRATEGIES for FITNESS

  1. Choose one fitness action and fold it into your daily living. One simple idea is to buy a pedometer and walk 10,000 steps daily or park far away from the store entrance when driving, so that you walk more. Another way to do this is to forego taking elevators and escalators unless you are physically challenged, which will move your body regularly. After a few weeks, choose another fitness action and add it to your lifestyle. As you continue to get healthier, you’ll find resurging energy and enthusiasm for health.
  2. Probiotics: if you take antibiotics, consider taking a probiotic (after consulting with your health care provider, naturally). Antibiotics kill the friendly flora in your gut at the same time they are killing the invading bacteria that cause illness. Probiotics will restore the natural, friendly flora and enhance general immunity and health. A typical probiotic is a liquid solution of lactobacilli, which can be purchased from health food stores and many vitamin stores.

Let us get up, moving, and healthier! @DoctorJames

Daily Sunshine Counters Vitamin D Deficiency

 - by James Lovette-Black PhD
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Vitamin D is required by the human body for proper functioning of numerous systems, to maintain health of both mind and body. After several decades of drumming the message to avoid overexposure to the sun because of the damage ultraviolet rays can do to the skin, including melanomas, clinicians are beginning to offer more balanced advice for sun exposure. Dr. Michael Holick, author of “The UV Advantage“, advocates daily sunlight exposure to avoid numerous diseases caused by a deficiency of vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin” that is actually a hormone. Holick recommends daily sunshine and advocates wider use of proper exposure to the sun, in an effort to counter a pandemic of vitamin D deficiency-linked disorders and diseases that is now prevalent among North Americans. Here is a brief interview and his recommendations.


Holick's Vitamin D Recommendations

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