December 18, 2014
Leading Zumba Experts Provide Insight to Help Make a Huge Difference in Overall Wellbeing
MIAMI, FL – (Dec. 18, 2014) – Every year, millions of Americans commit to challenging New Year’s resolutions, but research has shown only 8 percent actually stick to them.1 While it may be grueling to reach ambitious goals of weight loss or exercise, starting from within and achieving happiness may be the key to long-term success. To help people find their happy place, Zumba, the global fitness brand known for bringing joy into millions of lives, has teamed up with positive psychology, life coaching and nutrition experts Tal Ben-Shahar, Marci Shimoff, and Dr. Mark Hyman, to create a happiness movement that will enhance satisfaction in all areas of one’s life.
Tal Ben-Shahar, former Harvard lecturer and author of books including Happier, Being Happy and Choose the Life You Want, says to seek out moments of enjoyment: “it’s important to set aside time throughout the week for activities that provide you with pleasure and meaning, like Zumba® classes, which may also positively change your attitude toward life, self and others. Zumba classes include happiness movements – actions that enhance the feeling or emotions that are associated with them to help increase your mood.”
And he’s right—studies have found that heart-pumping, endorphin-boosting workouts elevate happiness and that more physically active people report greater general feelings of excitement and enthusiasm than less active people.2
Zumba has taken this concept a step further by combining dance with fitness to create the perfect happiness formula. “We also know that dancing, among many things, reduces stress, diminishes depression and liberates people with feelings of pure joy,” said Alberto Perlman, CEO of Zumba. “In fact, our tagline ‘Let It Move You,’ is a phrase that draws out the passion and enhances the happiness that moves you not only physically but also emotionally—so that the feeling stays with you long after the Zumba® workout is completed.”
To prolong that moment of joy, Marci Shimoff advises to “take a moment and savor it.” The #1 NY Times bestselling author of Happy for No Reason has made a career out of revolutionizing the way people experience deep love and happiness. One of her tips is to incline your mind toward joy and get into the daily habit of consciously registering the positive around you. “Make it more than just an observation—spend 30 seconds soaking up the happiness you feel.”
To fuel your soul, you also have to fuel your body—and nutrition plays an important role in this process. Dr. Mark Hyman, physician, scholar and eight-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, says, “Focusing on foods that steady blood sugar levels, also promotes the production of serotonin, your happy mood hormone. Optimal amounts of these foods can reduce your risk of depression, promote calmness, and leave you feeling your best.” Dr. Hyman recommends foods rich in vitamin B6 such as avocados and spinach and omega-3 fatty acids including walnuts and wild caught fish.
Ready to conquer maximum joy in 2015? Follow these tips and more below to increase your happiness factor this New Year. Join the movement and put these tips in action; find a Zumba class near you at www.zumba.com.
POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY: Tips by Tal Ben-Shahar
Tal Ben-Shahar is an author, lecturer and the Chief Learning Officer of The Wholebeing Institute and Potentialife. He taught the largest course at Harvard on “Positive Psychology.”
- Give yourself permission to be human: When we accept emotion, such as fear, sadness, or anxiety as natural, we are more likely to overcome them. Rejecting our emotions, positive or negative, leads to frustration and unhappiness.
- Seek out moments of enjoyment: It’s important to set aside time throughout the week for activities that provide you with pleasure and meaning. For example, participating in a Zumba class may not only be a pleasurable activity, but it may positively change your attitude toward life, self and others.
- Keep in mind that happiness is mostly dependent on our state of mind, not on our status or the state of our bank account: Barring extreme circumstances, our level of wellbeing is determined by what we choose to focus on (the full or the empty part of the glass) and by our interpretation of external events.
- Remember the mind-body connection: What we do or don’t do with our bodies, influences our mind. Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and healthy eating habits lead to both physical and mental health. In fact, regular exercise is as powerful as our most advanced psychiatric medication, so it’s important to focus on the health of our body when seeking out happiness.
- Express gratitude, whenever possible: We too often take our lives for granted. Learn to appreciate and savor the wonderful things in life, from people to food, from nature to a smile. Verbalizing your appreciation can make those around you, and in the process, make you feel truly happy.
MOTIVATIONAL THINKING: Tips by Marci Shimoff
Marci Shimoff is a #1 NY Times bestselling author, a celebrated transformational leader, and one of the nation’s leading experts on happiness, success, and unconditional love.
- Move your body: Some form of exercise is essential for maintaining optimal wellbeing. Incorporating regular workouts into your routine, such as Zumba®, relieves and prevents anxiety and creates a calming effect that lasts for roughly four hours after exercising.
- Incline your mind toward joy: Get into the daily habit of consciously registering the positive around you. Once you notice something positive, take a moment to savor it. Take the good experience in deeply and feel it; make it more than just a mental observation. Spend 30 seconds soaking up the happiness you feel.
- Lead with love: You can power up your heart’s flow by sending loving kindness to anyone and everyone you see. Next time you’re stuck in a line at the store, caught up in traffic or simply walking down the street, look around and send a silent wish to the people you see for their happiness, well-being and health. It doesn’t have to be dramatic; merely wishing others well switches on the “pump” that generates love in the heart and creates a strong current of happiness.
- Surround yourself with support: Spending time with those you love – family, friends, or pets – can help raise your happiness level. Create appropriate boundaries with emotional bullies and “happiness vampires” who can zap your positive energy.
NUTRITONAL OPTIMIZATION: Tips by Dr. Mark Hyman
Dr. Mark Hyman is an American physician, scholar and an eight-time #1 New York Times bestselling author. He is dedicated to tackling the root causes of chronic disease by harnessing the power of Functional Medicine.
To feel your best, focus on foods that steady blood sugar levels and promote the production of serotonin, your happy mood hormone. Optimal amounts of these foods can reduce your risk of depression, promote calmness, and leave you feeling your best. The following are Dr. Hyman’s top foods to optimize your mood.
- Wild-caught fish: They are rich in the omega-3 fatseicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanenoic acid (DHA), which are essential for brain function.
- Walnuts: These are an excellent source of the plant-based omega 3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Walnuts make a great snack rich in fiber, protein, healthy fats, and nutrients.
- Freshly ground flax seeds: Another excellent source of ALA, flax seeds also provide a wallop of fiber, protein, nutrients, and healthy fats. These are simple to sneak into any smoothie!
- Free-range poultry: Rich in tryptophan, an amino acid (building block of protein) is needed to make your feel-good hormone, serotonin. Protein-rich foods also help steady blood sugar levels and keep you full longer.
- Legumes: These are an excellent plant-based tryptophan source; also rich in protein, fiber and nutrients.
- Avocados: This fruit is rich in vitamin B6, which is crucial for converting tryptophan into serotonin; avocados are also high in fiber, healthy fats, and other nutrients.
- Spinach. Another top vitamin B6 source, spinach also provides a powerhouse of nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber.
1 Journal of Clinical Psychology, “Auld lang Syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year’s resolvers and nonresolvers” http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jclp.1151/abstract
2 Penn State School of Psychology, “Physical activity yields feelings of excitement, enthusiasm” http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-02/ps-pay020812.php