Susan Lark, MD Says "Volunteer" Your Way to Good Health this Holiday Season

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Susan Lark, MD, noted medical researcher, clinical nutritionist and women's health practitioner has examined the health benefits of love and appreciation and encourages everyone to do something this holiday season--volunteer, contribute to a charity, or simply spend special time with loved ones--to realize these benefits.

As a physician, I have seen feelings of gratitude and appreciation improve the health and well-being of many patients over the years, says Dr. Lark.

Susan Lark, MD, noted medical researcher, clinical nutritionist and women's health practitioner has examined the health benefits of love and appreciation and encourages everyone to do something this holiday season--volunteer, contribute to a charity, or simply spend special time with loved ones--to realize these benefits.

"As a physician, I have seen feelings of gratitude and appreciation improve the health and well-being of many patients over the years, says Dr. Lark. "And, there is real research in this area that shows a strong, medically sound connection between positive emotions, such as appreciation, and good health."

Dr. Lark points to the research done at the Institute of HeartMath (IHM) in California. In humans, the researchers found that feelings of care and appreciation can boost levels of an immune antibody called IgA, which is an important part of your body's defense against bacteria and viruses. And while anger is known to suppress your immune system, they discovered that even remembering a previous angry experience had a negative, long-term impact on immune function.

Several other studies in have shown the health benefits of appreciation:

  •     Research published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that gratitude and appreciation may be associated with a reduction in blood pressure.
  •     In the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, researchers reported that volunteers who kept a gratitude journal reported increased energy, fewer health complaints, and greater feelings of overall well-being when compared with people who kept other types of journals.
  •     In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found that many of their volunteers used gratitude as a positive way to cope with both acute and chronic life stressors.
  •     A researcher from the University of Michigan followed 2,700 people for more than a decade to determine how their social relationships affected their health. He found that more than any other activity, doing volunteer work improved health and increased life expectancy. Psychologists found similar results when they surveyed 3,000 student volunteers. They referred to their finding as "helper's high."

"By expressing feelings of appreciation in any way you can this holiday season--through volunteer work, spending quality time with your loved ones, or other means--you will rejuvenate your spirit and free your mind of stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions, says Dr. Lark. "And when your body is in a positive state, it is better able to protect itself against the ravages of illness and disease."

Dr. Lark has devoted her career to raising awareness of women's health issues, such as PMS, obesity, hormone replacement therapy and osteoporosis. She pioneered the use of women's self-care treatments based on diet, nutrition, exercise and stress management, and has penned twelve books on women's health and healing. Her most recent title is Hormone Revolution.

Her monthly newsletter, Women's Wellness Today, and her web site, http://www.drlark.com, are dedicated to educating and empowering women to make the best choices for optimum health and beauty. Online visitors may sign up for Dr. Lark's free biweekly e-newsletter, which presents breaking health and beauty news along with lifestyle tips, easy recipes and simple exercises for health and beauty.

Healthy Directions, LLC is the recognized leader in providing authoritative health and beauty solutions to consumers. In addition to producing online resources and publishing newsletters, Healthy Directions, LLC encompasses its subsidiary, Doctors' Preferred, Inc. (DPI), a vitamin and nutritional supplement business that markets primarily through direct mail. Located in the Greater Washington, D.C., area, Healthy Directions, LLC (http://www.healthydirections.com) is a leading publisher in America. The company provides quality products and services for the health and beauty marketplaces.

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