Finding the Happiness in You

So many kids were brought up singing "If You're Happy and You Know it, Clap Your Hands," a contagious song that makes you feel almost giddy with happiness.
But when young people grow up many find that regular doses of happiness escape them. Some get trapped into buying material objects - clothes, cars, homes, thinking it will make them happier.
But research has found that happiness is determined more by our minds than by what we have or don't have in life. Still, some people seem to be born happy while most have to work at being happy and staying happy since life is always full of new challenges.
A Healthy Life
Science has yet to definitively prove that people who are happier live longer; but we're not far from unlocking this mystery. Why do some people who appear happy also seem to have better health?
Happiness has been shown to be a physical experience. Studies have shown that happiness is connected to health. Negative thoughts can increase heart rates, raise blood pressure and have other negative impact when the brain is not having a good time. Perusing happiness may be more than just feeling good, it can have important health benefits.
Emotions and Happiness
A Harvard Medical School study examined how emotions such as hopefulness and excitement can be measured to study the positive effects on the body. Those who said they were good at handling daily stress were studied to see how their outlook translated to risk factors for other health issues.
From a non-scientific perspective it seems obvious that if you're engaged, positive and feeling good, your personal health is probably going to be better than someone who is suffering from the effects of stress.
But this study displayed a strong correlation between patients who were optimistic and had good health. This showed that positive actions of attitude could be measured in terms of their ability to shape a person's overall risk of serious health problems.

Tips for Shaping a Happy Life
  • Create a happiness routine. That might include stopping at your favorite spot for coffee in the morning... where everyone knows your name. Incorporate as many feel-good things in your day as possible - little things you look forward to when you wake up in the morning.
  • Prioritize being happy. If you aren't putting happiness at the top of a priority list then life's challenges may get in the way. Put happiness first so other things won't interfere with feeling good.
  • Plan to be happy. You know you want to be happy, but just like other things in life, happiness takes planning. Remember the old adage, if you fail to plan, plan to fail.
  • Engage in things that make you feel good. Of course you can't know how you're going to feel about everything before you do it, but many people don't incorporate the things that give them pleasure as often as they should.

Keeping Things Light
Having fun is a good way to help your health. The University of Maryland Medical Center examined subjects while they were having fun, laughing at a favorite joke or watching cooking shows, and found these activities led to varied health benefits.
In difficult times your ability to remain positive helps lift some of the burden of what you are experiencing. Lifting this burden takes a myriad of shapes and forms, but in any form it can help you stay safe and healthy in difficult times.
And in good times your own ability to be positive can help elevate positive experiences, cheering yourself on as you solve a problem or win an award. It seems that people who have a disposition for happiness may actually be training their brains to better receive the reward of positive events. Being happy in the present helps you stay happy in the long-term. Remember, don't forget to surround yourself with happy people, the effect is contagious. Friends help you stay healthy, happy and strong.
The Dalai Lama has pointed out that achieving happiness takes daily mind training in order to whisk away or diminish negative thoughts. That may seem simple, but it can take years of practice to overcome negative thinking. It might help to think of happiness this way. Exchanging negative thinking with happy thoughts is a skill that becomes easier the more you practice.
Ideas for Being Happier - Today!
  • Play more, have more fun. Try not to take life so seriously. Incorporate more play time in your life.
  • Share your interests. Get involved in groups that interest you like playing cards, gardening or walking with others. Shared interests are great ways to meet new people and have fun.
  • Volunteer. Sharing in an experience outside of work, and often for the greater good is a great way to meet positive people willing to help like you.
  • Invest more time in your favorite relationships. Happy people tend to be more supportive of others and in turn, generate support and closeness from others.
  • Appreciate what you have. Having gratitude and appreciation for what you have will increase the chance that you'll be happy.

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