The heart that loves is always young.

-Greek proverb

Young couple in love outdoorsI am setting the intention and taking action towards my goal of living very well—well past 100. As part of my daily regiment I am increasing my vegetable intake, using my BackJoy seat, pillow and shoes, working up a good sweat—along with taking and giving many multiple doses of love to family, friends and folks I do not know. I am making love the cornerstone of my health and wellness practice. More powerful and delicious than kale or broccoli, love satisfies and nourishes our mind and body, helps to enliven and extend our lives…and love feels good too.

“Health is wealth” is a common adage we hear, and we may immediately think of “getting our health-wealth” by eating well and exercising religiously. Yes, these things are important, but we may want to add community too. We are “better” together as evidenced by scientists who are suggesting that we should also place a premium on friendships, deep connectedness and love. In the cultures that boast the longest and healthiest life spans, the number of friends, strong family ties and the quality of connectedness to others is valued more than money, property and possessions. Let’s take the “love lead” in our society and do something courageous like being more mindful and excited to count our blessings and friends before we count our stuff.

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Our hearts do better in good company and the more that the focus is on “we” rather than “just me”, our hearts will thrive and become more alive. At the Pacific Medical Center, 600 men were studied, with one third of the men suffering from heart disease (the rest were healthy). All of the men had their conversations taped and analyzed for how often they used “I”, “me”, and “mine” and the more the men used the first person pronouns—ie, the more they talked about themselves versus others—there was an increase in the likelihood for heart trouble. It appears that “love is a good listener” and a heart under the influence of being open and supportive to others beats longer and stronger.

We can make the inspired move from feeling stressed to being blessed by surrounding and circulating ourselves in love. Certain hormones like cortisol are produced when you are under stress, and left unchecked, can result in a higher rate of disease and increased likelihood of premature death. You can raise your vitality and lower stress hormones by enjoying time with others. Have a pot luck, create a walking group, meet once a week for a hug and love fest while you serve others. Our hearts are muscles desiring to flex, express and grow—exercise your love and live with passion and purpose today!

IMG_7034e-5About: Dr. James Rouse is a naturopathic doctor and expert in functional and lifestyle medicine. An author of nine books, host and founder of Optimum Wellness Media, and Ironman triathlete, James has coached Fortune 50 and 500 companies, MLB and NFL teams, several branches of US Government and consults for companies including BackJoy, SKOOP and Kroger Grocery. He has shared his message to audiences in the US, Europe and Asia.