How to Get Happy (for Real)
I have been thinking about joy and happiness for a while and how that relates to health. Yes, HAPPINESS brings health and wellbeing! It is true and there have been studies in peer-reviewed journals proving this, medical experts tell us this and spiritual leaders profess it as truth. Surely you have felt the elated feeling of being happy. For example, you are chitchatting with close friends about most anything; doesn’t that feel wonderful? Or, you are enjoying a warm sunny day after this brutal winter and see lovely flowers blooming—HAPPY!! For some it can be related to overcoming writer's block, completing a project or sticking to a healthy eating plan. HAPPINESS!
As for me, I have finally stopped procrastinating writing about happiness, as there have been too many coincidences about this to not just go at it. Here is what I mean: My sweet hubby sent me an article this morning titled 50 Reasons We're Living Through the Greatest Period in World History . After reading that, for sure I felt grateful and happy. In November, 2011, an article that appeared in Harvard’s Healthbeat Archive, titled Giving Thanks Can Make You Happy, (http://goo.gl/9i1ojG) reported that participants in a study gauging happiness who were asked to write a letter expressing gratitude to someone who hadn’t been thanked for his or her kindness, experienced an elevation in their own happiness scores. Also to note in the article, studies have shown that when employers say, “thank you” to their employees, the employees work harder. The article goes on to say that gratitude requires emotional maturity. For those of you looking to cultivate your own sense of gratitude, the article offers some suggestions:
- Write a thank-you note
- Thank someone mentally
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Count your blessings
While checking my email this afternoon, I saw that one of my favorite bloggers, Linda Anselmi in her blog, Below the Salt News, has a post today titled: Happy with a Side of Happy (http://bit.ly/1knLWYg). There you can find a poetically placed Pharrell Williams music video, titled, HAPPY!! Psychology Today, in a January 20, 2011 article titled, Why Music Listening Makes Us Feel Good, states that our brain releases the “feel-good” neurochemical dopamine when we experience music. That is the same neurochemical that is released when we are satisfied from eating, drinking and, as the article says: “reproducing”. Or, as elaineRN says: after good sex! No wonder I felt happy after reading Linda’s post and watching the video. Thank you, Linda!
Beauteous colorful sunrises make me feel hopeful, happy and appreciative of the new day. Here’s one my generous brother-in-law Greg Havens shared with me recently to use in this post.
Not only did Greg make me happy with his lovely photo, no doubt he was a happy sharer. A PBS story titled "This Emotional Life" included a segment on Altruism and Happiness. This what it says about acts of kindness: “Altruism—including kindness, generosity, and compassion—are keys to the social connections that are so important to our happiness. Research finds that acts of kindness—especially spontaneous, out-of-the ordinary ones—can boost happiness in the person doing the good deed.” Thanks, Greg!
I BELIEVE THAT EVERYONE WANTS TO BE HAPPY
Just google “happiness” and see the myriad topics that are generated, all focused on ways to be happy, secrets of happiness, happiness at work, project happiness, etc. There are in-depth articles about happiness published in just about every mainstream newspaper, magazine and journal. Also, there are whole disciplines and organizations dedicated to happiness, such as the Global Happiness Organization, a scientifically-based, nonprofit organization that aims to promote happiness and reduce suffering worldwide. Many are looking for the secret of happiness and satisfaction using Facebook as their searching grounds. Every few posts on Facebook are sayings, cartoons or videos dedicated to the inspirational aspects of happiness.
MY SECRET TO HAPPINESS
Contrary to popular belief, I am not always happy; mostly, but not all of the time. I am surrounded by happiness on a daily basis, which helps greatly. Even though, like most people, I am saddened when people I care about are not healthy, have hit hard times, or are grieving the loss of someone dear, there are things that can help raise my mood. Here is what works for me.
1. Place the focus of life away from yourself. Volunteering and helping others is one way to achieve a better state of joy.
2. Stop complaining. Look at the bright side of the moment.
3. Listen to others and really hear what they are saying. It isn’t always about you.
4. Have a good chit chat with a dear friend. No doubt, there will be spontaneous laughs.
5. Spend time with your children, your grandkids or your furry babies.
6. Celebrate others' joyful times and accomplishments! Such as when one of your dear friends finally gets the home she has been seeking!
And, as what R.E.M says in one of my favorite songs: "Throw your love around!"