Did You Know…that there’s a surprising trick for preventing osteoporosis?
A growing body of data demonstrates that happiness makes you healthier. Now, a team of Finnish researchers has proven that this effect extends all the way down to your bones. Recently published findings from a team at the University of Eastern Finland point to a link between satisfaction and bone density.
The Surprising Trick to Preventing Osteoporosis
The University of Eastern Finland team evaluated more than 2,100 survey responses filled out by women between the ages of 60 and 70 who had entered a long-term osteoporosis study begun in 1999. Ten years later, 1,147 of the women submitted follow-up measurements. On average, participants lost 4% of their bone density.
Women who reported high levels of satisfaction, however, had up to two times more bone mass than those women who reported low levels of satisfaction.
Loss of bone density, if uncorrected, will likely progress to osteoporosis. Estimates indicate that over 50% of all individuals over the age of 50 have osteoporosis or low bone mass. Osteoporosis puts you at increased risk of bone breaks—in particular, hip fractures—which can have devastating consequences.
The University of Eastern Finland researchers stated that promoting “good life satisfaction and good spirits” appears to be just as important an osteoporosis prevention strategy as promoting lifestyle choices such as…
- Smoking cessation
- A healthy diet
Three Metrics to Measure Satisfaction
So, how do you measure “good spirits”? The University of Finland team tracked satisfaction levels by asking participants to answer four questions focused on three key areas…
- Interest in and easiness of life
Based on their answers, the women were categorized as having high, mid-range, or low levels of satisfaction.
The gap in bone mass between those who reported low and high levels could be as great as 52%. And the women whose satisfaction fell fared the worst: their bone density levels were typically 85% below that of those whose satisfaction rose.
In all cases, when levels of satisfaction increased, bone density improved.
Improving your happiness level may be a far simpler—and faster—process than you imagine. Experts say that you can retrain your mind to focus on the good things in your life, rather than dwelling on the not-so-good.
A helpful trick to achieving this can be keeping a gratitude diary. At the end of each day, jot down five things that happened that caused you to feel gratitude. Counting your blessings in this way will help you see just how many things you already have to be grateful for, and once you’ve done that, you can try another strategy proven to boost happiness: saying “thank you.”
Data indicates that expressing your gratitude is the single most effective positive psychology exercise. Every time you say thank you, even for small acts and gestures, you raise your satisfaction levels… and over time, according to this new research, you consequently raise your bone density. Now, that’s a powerful double win.