“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” – Abraham Lincoln
“Happiness Happens Day” ,celebrated on August 8th of each year was founded by Pamela Gail Johnson. She started the Secret Society of Happy People in 1998, “to provide a missing voice for those who are happy and want to express it without having other people rain on their parade.” It is a day dedicated to recognizing and promoting happiness in our lives and encouraging people to share their positive moments and emotions. On her website she goes on to say, “We spend so much time focusing on our “what’s wrong” moments that we ignore many of our happy moments, so our happiness became a secret — even to us.”
Words that can describe happiness are:
- Joy- a feeling of great pleasure
- Contentment-A sense of satisfaction and being at peace with what one has.
- Bliss- extreme happiness and joy
- Fulfillment– A sense of achievement and satisfaction derived from reaching goals and aspirations.
- Harmony- A sense of balance and alignment that contributes to inner happiness.
- Serenity-A state of calm and tranquility that brings a peaceful happiness.
- Optimism- A positive outlook on life- a belief that all will work out for the best
Happiness comes by focusing on the positive aspects of life, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.
7 ways to nurture happiness in your own life
- Fulfilling relationships and strong emotional connections
Fulfilling and close relationships keeps loneliness and isolation away. We are wired for connection.
- Personal accomplishments- both great and small
Celebrate your personal accomplishments- no matter how small they are. Every great accomplishment is the result of placing one foot in front of the other (small accomplishments add up)
Gratitude- the act of being grateful for both the tangible and intangible. Research has repeatedly shown the strong correlation between gratitude and happiness. One way to practice gratitude is to start a daily gratitude journal and list 5 things, no matter how small that you are grateful for. Even the tea or coffee you are drinking while working on your journal is something to be grateful for. The journal can be as simple as a small notebook or pick up a gratitude journal that has daily affirmations and exercises to encourage you.
- Limit negative influences in your life– Influences, such as tv, social media and even consistently negative people can dampen and make achieving personal happiness difficult to attain and maintain. Everyone has a “bad day” or experience; however, when possible, guard your thoughts and eyes from unnecessary drama. The “what ifs” on the tv or social media do nothing but prey on the fight or flight center of your brain. Analyze relationships and how they affect you. When possible, limit those relationships that cause unnecessary distress in your life.
- Practice self-care- Self care can mean engaging in satisfying hobbies, time alone, lunch with a friend, a hot bath or anything that brings pleasure, and you look forward to doing. If you aren’t sure what to do, take time to really think about what brings you pleasure and satisfaction- and make time for it!
- Help others- Helping others or volunteering, builds relationships and strengthens bonds , leading to a feeling of fulfillment.
- Learn and practice resilience- Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks and challenges. Cultivate resilience learning from failures and maintaining a positive outlook.
Being happy is linked to improved outlook of health
Studies have shown that being happy can have positive effects on physical and mental well-being.
Some ways in which happiness contributes to health:
- Stress reduction- Happiness reduces stress. Chronic stress leads to increased cortisol levels. Chronically high cortisol levels can lower immune function, raise blood pressure, and contribute to raised blood glucose levels. Being happy counteracts the effects of stress.
- Better lifestyle choices leading to longevity– When you are happy, you tend to eat better, are more motivated to exercise and connect with those in your life that you value. In fact, regular, consistent exercise produces mood enhancing endorphins.
- There is a strong correlation between pain and emotions. Powerful pain-relieving endorphins- natural painkillers-are released while engaging in pleasurable activities. These endorphins reduce the perception of pain.
- Happiness produces positive emotions– These emotions can promote resilience and help cope with the ups and downs of everyday life. Positive relationships are linked to improved mental health and overall cognitive function. In addition, problem solving abilities are enhanced when happy.
- Happiness isn’t something that just “happens”. Personal responsibility and getting to know yourself- your genetics, overall health and personality, environment and abilities all play an important role in happiness. However, taking a proactive role in your personal happiness will yield a more fulfilled (and happy) life.
- Brooke Lounsbury, RN
Medical Content Writer
Keeping you informed and safe.
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