A New Twist to Your Typical New Year’s Resolutions

So it’s few days into January, which means your New Year’s resolutions are off to a great start… hopefully.

While it’s very common these days to vow to improve your health through any number of resolutions — lose weight, exercise more often, stop smoking and/or excessive drinking, improve finances, reduce stress, etc. — here are a couple more tips to remember that could also help advance your personal well-being in 2014, courtesy of Elmer Smith, M.D., an internist at Texas Star Adult Medicine, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice in Bedford.

“Giving makes us feel happy and indeed studies corroborate this,” Smith said. “A Harvard Business School study in 2008 found that giving money to someone else lifted the giver’s happiness more that spending it on themselves.”

“Volunteering as giving also is important,” Smith said, citing an article from March 2010 in Health & Social Care in the Community that found lay Arab and Jewish women who volunteered to promote health activities in their communities benefited themselves in four ways:

  • Gaining increased knowledge with a feeling of self-satisfaction as well as mastering new skills and performing healthy behaviors;
  • Group social benefits of social support and sense of cohesion;
  • Purposive benefits of achieving the mission and goals of the study;
  • Sociopolitical benefits of learning to accept the other and experiencing increased solidarity.

“So in essence, giving of our assets — either in the form of money or time — in fact may benefit the giver even more than the recipient,” he said. “No matter how you feel about the New Year, giving may be just the cure for all that ails you and get your 2014 off to a great start.”

Physicians on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital or Texas Health Resources.

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