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June 17, 1988 - Image 124

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-06-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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MARLA FELDMAN

LEASING MANAGER

S

ad to say, a lot of us
aren't happy. What are
we blue about? Our
bodies for starters. In a recent
poll by a leading psychology
periodical, experts analyzed
2,000 responses and com-
pared them to a poll taken in
1972. They found 34 percent
of the men were unhappy
with their looks — compared
to 15 percent in 1972, and 38
percent of the women ex-
perienced dissatisfaction —
compared to 25 percent in
1972.
A lot of us are blue because
we aren't our own best
friends. Unhappiness often
stems from low self-esteem
and it takes its toll. A survey
by the Southern California
Medical Center in Los
Angeles of 1,000 Californians
found that those who felt hap-
piest were described as being
in better mental and physical
health than those who suf-
fered from low self-esteem.
Worse, says Dr. Lawrence
LeShan, a New York
psychologist who has worked
with cancer patients for
years, if your gloom stems
from inability to express your
creativity and emotional
needs, it can put great stress
on your body's cancer defense
mechanisms.
A third reason a lot of us
feel bad is that we're in the
bad habit of being grouches.
Not keeping a smile on your
face can actually make you
unhappy. According to Dr.
R.B. Zajonc, professor of
psychology at the University
of Michigan, when you smile
facial muscles push against
veins and arteries in your
head, changing the amount of
blood that flows to the brain.
A tiny change in the amount
of blood flowing to or from the
brain can change its
temperature. This affects pro-
duction of neurotransmitters
— powerful brain chemicals
that can kill pain and lift
your mood.
Even the season is
sometimes the reason we're
blue. Studies at New York Ci-
ty's Columbia University
psychology department found
that most people reach their
happiest peak in the summer,
and women, in particular, ex-
perience the sunniest mood
when the weather is warm,
bright and sunny.
Worst time all-around for
gloom-and-doom is the end of
the summer, claims Dr. Clin-
ton E. Phillips, associate

director of counseling for the
American Institute of Family
Relations. "Boredom reaches
a dangerous peak as the thrill
of vacation wears off . . . it's
important to keep busy."
Second worst season for the
dumps is the spring. "People
are most likely to go off the
deep end emotionally in
March, says Dr. Louis I.
Dublin, consultant on health
and welfare for the Institute
of Life Insurance.
Letting a smile be your um-
brella, even if you aren't sure
what's to blame, pays off. For
one thing, it reduces aches
and pains. Studies by Drs.
Richard B. Stalling of Bradley
University and Tim Ahles of
the University of Illinois
Medical School, indicated
that depressed students ex-
perienced more pain —
especially in the head, neck
and lower back than students
in positive moods.
Take this quiz to find out
how happy you are:
1. Do you look forward to
being alone:
a) a few hours every day?
b) only on certain days?
c) never — always like
someone around.
Answer: a-2; b-1; c-0.
2. If you made a list of your
favorite people, would
you be on it?
a) No
b) Maybe
c) Absolutely
Answer: a-0, b-1; c-0.
3. Is your schedule:
a) somewhat flexible
daily?
b) somewhat flexible
monthly?
c) the same each day?
Answer: a-2; b-1; c-0.
4. Do you look for new ways
to do the same old thing:
a) daily?
b) occasionally?
c) only when somebody in-
sists on it?
Answer: a-0; b-2; c-0.
5. When you're alone,
do you:
a) find ways to stay busy?
b) make plans for tomor-
row and the coming
week?
c) think about the past?
Answer: a-2; b-O; c-0.
6. Which is your favorite
color?
a) Yellow
b) Green or Brown or
Black
c) Red
Answer: a-1, b-0; c-2.
7. Do you get up at:
a) the same time every
day?
b) right after awakening?
c) as late as possible?

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