Your Final Challenge: Smile, Laugh and Be Grateful

smiley_face It’s the last day of the 12 Days of Wellness Challenge, and it’s Christmas Eve! I spent every year of my childhood looking forward to December 24th. If I’m honest, I have to admit that I still do. I spend every Christmas Eve with my family here in Minnesota. We all gather at my mom’s house for great food, games, a kiddie talent show, and too many presents. On days like today, I realize how very blessed I am. Today, as I smile and laugh with my family, I’ll make it a point to pause and acknowledge how lucky I am.

Those things – smiling, laughing and expressing gratitude – are things we all should do every single day. Not only do they make you feel good in the moment, but making them a habit can actually cause you to be a happier person. According to nonprofit website Project Happiness, up to 40 percent of our happiness can be effected by our own intentional actions.

We’d all love to feel happier, of course, but there are real physical benefits to happiness, too, and some of those benefits are directly tied to weight loss. Laughter produces serotonin, a hormone that boosts impulse control and can stop food cravings. At a deeper level, cultivating a general sense of happiness through gratitude can reduce the need to turn to food and beverage to fill unmet emotional needs. Many overweigh people think that losing weight will make them happy, but the reverse seems to be more true: happiness may be a key component for permanent weight loss.

So, your assignment today is to smile, laugh and be grateful. Yep, that’s it – I saved the best for last!

Well, that’s it for the 12 Days of Wellness. I hope you’ve learned a bit about yourself, your habits, and how you can change them just a little bit day by day. If you have a big change to make, like losing a significant amount of weight or improving your health to reduce serious risk factors, then you’ll want to move beyond these small daily habits and put together a serious plan for yourself. My book, Reboot Your Body, is designed to help you do exactly that. If you’d like one-on-one coaching along the way, I offer that as well. Send me a message via the Contact Form.

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