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Study Finds That Marriage Is Good For Your Heart Health

Study Finds That Marriage Is Good For Your Heart Health

Marriage is supposed to be good for your mind and soul, but a study has shown that it can be good for your heart as well.

The study, which was conducted by New York University’s Lagone Medical Center, looked at 3.5 million Americans across the country who voluntarily filled out health screening questions from 2003 to 2008. These Americans were an average of 64 years of age, 63% females, and almost 90% were white.

It found that “when it comes to cardiovascular disease, marital status really does matter.” The study showed that married people had a five percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to single people. Divorced and widowed people, however, had a greater risk compared to single people.

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But don’t go searching for that wedding ring yet. A closer look at this study shows that while marriage may lead to less heart problems, that may have to do with the emotional well-being marriage can bring to a couple as opposed to the act of marriage in and of itself.

A look at the Lagone Medical Center’s data should show how marriage may help tamper down factors which lead to heart disease as opposed to fixing heart disease directly. The data shows that single people are more likely to smoke and be obese compared to married couples or divorced people.

From that perspective, it should be obvious how marriage can lead to a healthier heart. The links between smoking, obesity, and heart disease are extremely well known. If marriage can prevent either of those factors, it would go a lot towards ensuring healthier hearts and bodies.

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Marriage can clearly do both of those things. There are multiple stories of how smokers gave up their habit either for the sake of their spouses or their children. There are also cases of how a spouse saved their better half’s life during a disaster by a simple phone call. Furthermore, living with someone else can serve as clear encouragement for someone to get in shape so that they can look their best in front of their spouse at all times. A senior member of the project, Dr. Jeffery Berger, also observed that “[a] spouse can help keep doctor’s appointments and provide transportation, making for easier access to health care services.”

Marriage can promote a healthy lifestyle, which encourages people to give up bad habits and take better care of themselves.

This study is not the first to note a link between marriage and a healthier heart. Studies have shown that married cancer patients are more likely to survive compared to single people, as marriage offers greater emotional well-being and a support system which can help cancer patients get through their day to day lives.

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Marriage also offers other health benefits. In addition to preventing cardiovascular diseases, marriage can also lessen the chances of strokes, mental illness, and encourage safer behavior.

Keep in mind that this presupposes a healthy and stable marriage. An unstable marriage offers nothing in lieu of health benefits and in fact adds additional stress factors which will only worsen one’s health. Additionally, married couples are generally wealthier than the average single person, which can distort results. Financial struggles affect a person’s health and well-being.

Furthermore, the health benefits of marriage appear because they provide incentives for individuals to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and there are plenty of married couples who continue to have poor health habits with the resulting consequences.

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But by and large, marriage appears to be a positive thing for couples to maintain long life and happiness. It may not do so directly, but as long as it encourages positive and healthy behavior, it is those actions which fundamentally matter.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2020

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments—you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time. That’s why the art of saying no can be a game changer for productivity.

Requests for your time are coming in all the time—from family members, friends, children, coworkers, etc. To stay productive, minimize stress, and avoid wasting time, you have to learn the gentle art of saying no—an art that many people have problems with.

What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger, or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

However, it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to stop people pleasing and master the gentle art of saying no.

1. Value Your Time

Know your commitments and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it.

Be honest when you tell them that: “I just can’t right now. My plate is overloaded as it is.” They’ll sympathize as they likely have a lot going on as well, and they’ll respect your openness, honesty, and attention to self-care.

2. Know Your Priorities

Even if you do have some extra time (which, for many of us, is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

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For example, if my wife asks me to pick up the kids from school a couple of extra days a week, I’ll likely try to make time for it as my family is my highest priority. However, if a coworker asks for help on some extra projects, I know that will mean less time with my wife and kids, so I will be more likely to say no. 

However, for others, work is their priority, and helping on extra projects could mean the chance for a promotion or raise. It’s all about knowing your long-term goals and what you’ll need to say yes and no to in order to get there. 

You can learn more about how to set your priorities here.

3. Practice Saying No

Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word[1].

Sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

4. Don’t Apologize

A common way to start out is “I’m sorry, but…” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important when you learn to say no, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm and unapologetic about guarding your time.

When you say no, realize that you have nothing to feel bad about. You have every right to ensure you have time for the things that are important to you. 

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5. Stop Being Nice

Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. However, if you erect a wall or set boundaries, they will look for easier targets.

Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

6. Say No to Your Boss

Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss—they’re our boss, right? And if we start saying no, then we look like we can’t handle the work—at least, that’s the common reasoning[2].

In fact, it’s the opposite—explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

7. Pre-Empting

It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

“Look, everyone, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects, and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

This, of course, takes a great deal of awareness that you’ll likely only have after having worked in one place or been friends with someone for a while. However, once you get the hang of it, it can be incredibly useful.

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8. Get Back to You

Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, try saying no this way:

“After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

At least you gave it some consideration.

9. Maybe Later

If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

“This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands. If you need to continue saying no, here are some other ways to do so[3]:

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Saying no the healthy way

    10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

    This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

    Simply say so—you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization—but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true, as people can sense insincerity.

    The Bottom Line

    Saying no isn’t an easy thing to do, but once you master it, you’ll find that you’re less stressed and more focused on the things that really matter to you. There’s no need to feel guilty about organizing your personal life and mental health in a way that feels good to you.

    Remember that when you learn to say no, isn’t about being mean. It’s about taking care of your time, energy, and sanity. Once you learn how to say no in a good way, people will respect your willingness to practice self-care and prioritization. 

    More Tips for a Less Stressful Life

    Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

    Reference

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