"Happineszs a state of well-being, contentment, a satisfying experience, and good fortune"(http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/happiness)
Think about your life right now in this moment. Are you truly happy? Are you pursuing the things in life that add to your happiness? Have you thought about the importance of happiness to our existence as human beings? Finally, does happiness really matter? I'd like to share the 4 W's that I believe are important to Living Happy.
Being happy is truly a mind, body, and spirit experience that has lasting benefits in our lives. It has been supported by scientific research for many decades. More recently scientific research is diving into the topic more with the changes in health care reform and the rise of disease. What's evident if you read any health or psychology articles is that being a happy person has a positive effect on our entire being.
Some of the research has shown significance in how happiness can create the following benefits:
- Becoming a genius - Being happy may not get you to be a card carrying member of Mensa, but studies have shown clearly that happiness has some significant benefits to our cognition. Some of these benefits include:
- Improved problem solving skills
- Greater imagination and thought production
- Increased ability to assimilate new information - I was smiling and that's why I used those big words - wow it really works - Awesome!!! :)
- Becoming an Adonis - Sorry to disappoint, but being happy won't make you look like Arnold Schwarzenegger's identical twin, but it has been proven to have these helpful effects on the body:
- Decreases the workload of the heart by lowering BP and HR
- Decreases Cortisol (a hormone that exists to help manage our body's response to stress, but high levels of it are detrimental and cause decreased immunity, increased belly fat, decreased muscle, and decreased thyroid)
- Decrease the risk of heart disease by limiting bad blood plasma like cholesterol
- Becoming the Life of the Party - This could actually happen by being a happy person. Studies show that people with the following traits are able to be more successful at creating meaningful relationships. Those traits are:
- Enthusiasm - nobody wants to be around Debbie Downer (except us SNL fans)
- Gratefulness - understanding and appreciating the many good things in our lives.
- Optimism - that glass is half -full I tell you - the ability to see beyond the negative
Listed below are some links to some good information about the benefits of happiness on our bodies, minds, and spirits.
What Happiness looks like in action
In order to enjoy these benefits we must take action in our lives to "Be Happy - don't worry" - good song. Seriously, it is important to understand some practices we can implement in our lives to promote the happiness that leads to our holistic improvement.
Here are the 3 G's of Happiness:
- Gratitude - Gratitude means thanks and appreciation. It's the warm feeling you get when you remember the person who told you to drop your 1980's hairstyle and get with the new millennium already. It also opens ourselves to new opportunities and possibilities.
- Giving - Another way this could be said is being generous with your time, your emotions, and your finances. When you give to another person it fills a special place in our hearts. How did it feel when you gave an unexpected person something from your heart? They smiled, and you had this warm fuzzy feeling in your heart. That may not be the scientific wording for that reaction, but you know what I mean.
- Greatness - Not being a pompous jerk, but pursuing excellence in your own life that can positively impact others. Having that drive to make a difference in this world. This means taking action to look for these opportunities in your life, and knowing...
When Happiness starts to make a difference
Happiness will only occur when you decide to actually take action. Then happiness can start to invade lives in a way that creates positive change. When you walk down the street or through the office, do look for the opportunity to make another person's day? How much effort does it take to say thank you or give a smile? When you take the time in that moment it can make all the difference to both the giver and receiver. So when should you start looking to make a difference? Yesterday. If I've learned anything from the privilege of helping hospice patients and their families, don't wait for tomorrow. Therefore, just like any goal, we have to put a plan into action for success. Here are some practical things you can do to start making a difference:
Three ways to put happiness into action:
- Give your Mind - This means in all your interactions you need to be present. Whether it's in your relationship or your friendship you need to give your attention. This promotes happiness because you've just validated the other person's importance to you, and made them feel valued. Working on being a better communicator and listener in our everyday interactions can promote happiness.
- Give Your Heart - Look for ways to put your caring for others into action without making sign that says, "See what I did". When you look for opportunities to make others feel better it can create increased happiness and fulfillment in our lives. Look for opportunities with your family, your friends, the person on the corner, or an official organization where you can give to others. Do you remember what happened to the Grinch when he gave to the Who's? Let your heart grow today as you give some of it away to others in need.
- Give Your Hand - Scientific research supports the effects of human affection from the time we're babies in the nursery. Without the touch of another human our growth and development become stagnate. Therefore, having touch in our lives is important to building happiness. As a staff nurse I always would get down to eye level with my patients, and gently touch there shoulder to let them know I would be there to meet their needs. Each of us can do this each day with those we love, know, and meet.
Where Happiness can Grow
Being happy in life takes understanding why it's important, knowing what actions can produce the happiness we seek, how to generate happiness in our interactions with others, and finally we have to have a place where we can let happiness grow.
Here are 3 locations where you can let your happiness grow:
- Place full of purpose - We each need to have a sense that what we do in our life makes a difference. Being happy won't occur if you don't have a location for your happiness to grow. Is it the smile of my little 3 year old when Daddy comes home at night? Is is your visit to a sick relative that provides them comfort as you sit with them in that strange place? Or is on the corner in your car at the traffic light as you hand a dollar out your window to another person in need? Only you know where that place should be for you, but to be happy you have to find that location for your purpose.
- Place where you can grow - Each and every one of us need to and hopefully want to become better people. To be happy in our lives we need to have a place that promotes our personal growth. A small group, a friendship, and non-profit organization. Or it could be your own routine of reading, meditating, or exercising. All these actions provide the environment for you to grow and increase your happiness. Look at your life today, and find that place you can grow.
- Place where you can share - It is amazing to me that with so many people on the face of this earth not one of us is the same. That's great news because we are all special individuals with unique gifts and talents that can be used to improve our life, and the lives of others. Do you have a place where you share your gift? Do you know what your gift is? Most often your gift is that thing or things you do that come naturally to you that you enjoy, and can impact others positively. Are you a great artist? Do you have talent baking? Are you a compassionate person that knows how to make others feel better? Or are you talented at inspiring others to be their best? There are a bunch of great books out there that can help with the process, and then you need to find a place to unleash your greatness on the world.
So are you ready to Live Happy, and make it a part of your everyday life? Would you like to know of a place that might possibly be your opportunity to change your life and others? If so, reach out to me about a great opportunity to make a difference... here's a sneak peek