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Cultivate Satisfaction to be Healthier and Happier

Happy, healthy, satisfied woman with her hair pulled back wearing a black turtleneck sweater smiling looking up

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Older people with high levels of life satisfaction—a favorable attitude toward life—have healthier habits, less depression and pain, better sleep and a longer life, reports researchers from the University of British Columbia. They studied nearly 13,000 U.S. adults older than 50 for four years and found that higher life satisfaction was linked to 26 percent reduced mortality and a 46 percent lower depression rate. People that felt good about their lives had fewer chronic conditions and pain, exercised more often, were both more optimistic and likely to be living with a partner and experienced less hopelessness and loneliness. However, such positive feelings were not associated with fewer health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis or obesity; were not marked by less alcoholic binging or smoking; and were not affected by frequency of contact with children, family and friends. 

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Global Brief: Natural Thinking Spending Time in Nature Increases Cognitive Performance
More of our time is spent indoors than ever before. One of the ways by which nature may improve cognitive function (i.e. the acquisition of and goal-oriented use of knowledge) is by improving memory formation and recall, specifically that of short-term or working memory, and goal-oriented or directed attention; the kind that requires focused effort. By comparing and contrasting 13 studies, a team of researchers has shed light on this complex interaction in research published in Frontiers in Psychology. The studies used the backwards digit span task, which requires participants to invert a series of numbers and repeat them back. All demonstrated significantly improved cognition in nature as compared to urban environments. The benefits of studies like this are two-fold: not only are we learning more about how the brain interacts with its environment, but also how to leverage this interaction to lead healthier, more productive and happier lives.
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