Straight, No Chaser: The Intersection of Health and Happiness, aka Merry Christmas!


Straight, No Chaser isn’t a medical encyclopedia. It’s a tool to empower you to make choices that best suit your lifestyle – the intersection between health and happiness. Even though today is Christmas, remember we offer you the gift of knowledge every day.
After more than 20 years as a physician, I still am fascinated at the health trade-offs people make for their pleasure – or “quality of life.” We have previously discussed your habits and how some of them negatively impact your health. Click here for that discussion. The literature on negative energy and health is well documented and robust. In short, avoid negativity and those that bring it to you! That said, we’re following our own advice and going positive today. To that end, here’s the other half of the “health and happiness” equation:



Research from the Harvard School of Public Health (Go, Crimson!) led by Laura Kubzansky, Associate Profession of Society, Human Development and Health, identified personal attributes that actually do translate into better health. Specifically these personality traits have been shown to help avoid or healthfully manage depression, diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and other diseases.
Her landmark 2007 study followed over 6,000 men and women for over 20 years, discovering that a sense of enthusiasm, hopefulness, engagement in life and the ability to face life’s stresses with emotional balance appears to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Her studies have also demonstrated that children with a positive outlook and ability to focus on a task at age seven are in better health with fewer illnesses 30 years later. An additional finding of hers is that optimism cuts the risk of coronary heart disease in half.
This isn’t that hard. It just requires a rewiring of some of our outlook on life. Make a change today. Become a more positive person, and you’ll become a healthier person! Incorporate these mental lifestyle changes and reap the benefits.

  • Emotional vitality: a sense of enthusiasm, hopefulness, engagement
  • Optimism: the perspective that good things will happen and that one’s actions account for the good things that occur in life
  • Supportive networks of family and friends
  • Good “self-regulation,” i.e., bouncing back from stressful challenges and knowing that things will eventually look up again
  • Healthy behaviors such as physical activity and eating well
  • Avoidance of risky behaviors such as unsafe sex, drinking alcohol to excess, and regular overeating

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Speaking of Christmas, the Straight, No Chaser team greatly appreciates your readership, support and feedback. Over 36,000 of you both follow us and like us on Facebook and WordPress. We’ve had readers in approximately 200 countries around the world with approximately 300,000 page clicks. Most of all you’ve helped us successfully launch (SMA), 844-SMA-TALK ( and Dr. Sterling’s acclaimed first book, Behind the Curtain. We’ll continue to give you information to make a difference in your lives. Please continue to share your stories. It is very fulfilling and fascinating to hear how these efforts have made a difference in your lives. Feel free to continue to send us topic requests. We generally find a way to work them into the schedule.


Thank you so much, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, peace and blessings throughout the holiday season.

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