Happiness and laughter are contagious, make us feel good, and even protect our hearts. We all know what happens when someone gets the giggles, those around start laughing as well. Laughter emanates from happy people. Start the New Year with joy and laughter and let gratitude resonate throughout 2012. Here are five ideas to consider to enhance love in your life and promote a healthy heart.

Listen thoughtfully, listen with sensitivity.  Sometimes in our lives we need to step back and slow down. When others express a need, rather than getting huffy about it, look at it from their perspective. Some women will say "We need to talk" and that can set up a roadblock.  If you need your love to be more responsive - more phone calls or visits or time alone - just ask.  Don't hint.  Just ask.  It is that simple.

Create intimate Saturday night dates whether married or single.   For couples, plan a night in with candlelight and music to reminisce and express secret wishes.  For singles: yes, you can be happy at home without a date. Pour yourself a glass of champagne. Read a book that inspires you and brings a smile to your face.

Let go of an angry heart.  Send good wishes to someone who has hurt you. A consistent message regarding heart health recently voiced on ABC News is the same as expressed in an interview more than 10 years ago by Redford B. Williams, MD.  He told me then: "Eschew anger. It will do a world of good for your heart."

Dr. Williams, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University, has researched the link between heart disease and the hostility and anger of Type A behavior. 

Express gratitude often. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at University of California at Davis, tells me: "Gratitude is an attitude, not a feeling that can be easily willed." Even if you are not satisfied with your life as it is today, he pointed out, "if you go through grateful motions, the emotion of gratitude should be triggered. It is like improving your posture and as a result becoming more energetic and self-confident."

Dr. Emmons added: "Attitude change often follows behavior change. By living the gratitude that we do not necessarily feel, we can begin to feel that gratitude that we live."  Rita Watson News | San Francisco Examiner

Open your heart to find love. Most of us forget that the way to be loved is to give love and express love.  The man who wrote a book titled Love, Leo Buscaglia, believed that we should all take a chance on love and actually tell people our feelings: say the words to children, parents, friends, lovers, and spouses, "I love you."

New Year Wishes

To the wonderful guy who capped a Christmas move to my new home by hanging the mirrors and building a roaring fire - all my love and thanks.

To my friends who have been such a support to me during my parents illness and as our Dad went "gently into that good night" -- I am forever grateful.

To Psychology Today - editors and readers - my sincere wishes for a New Year filled with laughter, love, and gratitude. With Love and Gratitude | Psychology Today

Copyright 2011 Rita Watson/ All Rights Reserved

Follow Rita Watson on Twitter @ LoveColumnist / www.ritawatson.com

 

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