Taking some stress out of your life could start with just a healthy dose of positive thinking. That's what counselors with
Duane Armstrong teaches his seminars centered on what happy, healthy people do. In July, Armstrong stressed that it's not just living, but thinking that keeps a healthy heart. He wants folks to focus on the positive.
"When you go to the doctor, a lot of times you get a lot of information about what not to do," he says. "Because they say you shouldn't do this, or that, anymore. Don't eat that, don't try this. Trying not to think about something... eh, it doesn't work. Thinking about something is very powerful."
Kay Sones attended Armstrong's seminar, and says living intentionally is how she's managed her stress.
"I was always a destination person, and I would stress out from the beginning until I got to the destination," Sones says. "Then I thought, okay now I need to start again. So here was my stress period."
Armstrong says there's a direct correlation between stress and heart disease. There are things you cannot change, like genetics. But beating that is where the positive psychology comes in.
"You know, you've got to know your values... Your purpose... Your sense of meaning," Armstrong says. "We have to know about ourselves first. And after we know about that -- I'm talking about getting active, and doing things that are meaningful to us."
For Sones, she says its working.
"The journey that I take every day now is the most important... and I like where I am now."
Armstrong recommends replacing bad habits, rather than breaking them. That can be small changes, like taking the stairs or going to church when you're feeling lonely.
So how to start? Try thinking about five positive things that you are grateful for, every day. It may help to talk to someone who can reflect back at you, and Armstrong says almost immediately, you'll feel an improved sense of well-being and health.