What makes people happy? Is being happy in life preventative medicine for the mind, body, and soul? Why is it easier to be unhappy then go with the feel-good nature of happiness? These are all great questions, and they all come down to a little science, being able to live in the moment and a whole lot of good for your physical health.
What does it mean to be happy? The answer to what makes us happy and content is going to differ from person to person. To define happiness is to identify it as a positive state of psychological well-being and contentment. In other words, our mental and emotional state aligns to give us peace, joy and a feeling of fulfillment. What is interesting about a state of happiness is the link between our psychological well-being and how it heals our physical body.
Before I dive into the healing ways of happiness, I have always wondered why it is more comfortable to be unhappy than happy. There is a lot of scientific research addressing why we are more miserable than happy. One theory takes this back to our primal days as hunters and gatherers where nearly everything in our environment was intent on killing and eating us. Others place this unhappiness trend squarely on our lost spirituality, culture and the speed at which we live our lives.
I would say yes to all the above. We tend to lose sight of happiness based on the way we interact with each other and our drive for material things. We are, deep down, primal beasts still maintaining a watchful eye on survival, so we often see threats on the news or in our surroundings. We have also lost touch with each other in a competitive, dog-eat-dog world where we are only as good as our best selfie. None of which leads to happiness and makes us all a bit empty at times.
The good news is, we are beings filled with empathy, kindness, and love. Deep inside, even the hardest hearts and most disgruntled of us is an essence of love, compassion, and light that connects us to our people and our surroundings. The tough part is how to bring love, kindness, and compassion into a connected state in your being. If you can at least lessen the anger, worry, and stress in your day-to-day life, you can master the ability to be happy. Now I have some ideas on how to make happiness a daily event, but first, letís take a look at what all this happiness does and doesnít do for your health.
First, happy people have less stress. The fact that pressure and stress can damage your health is real. Research over the last 10 years has proven specific links between happiness and good heart health. These same studies have found happy people tend to have lower blood pressure and more stable hormone function. Findings in multiple studies have proven that anger, anxiety and depression all become dominating factors leading to impairment of your immune function, chronic inflammation and an elevated release of cortisol which can influence the development of Type 2 diabetes. Letís face it, being unhappy is really unhealthy.
So how can we be happier so we can be healthier? Great question, and I am sure you are thinking, ďIf this guy thinks he has the key to happiness, then butterflies are going to magically fly out of his butt, right?Ē Maybe not all of you, but I am sure some are thinking this about now.
Well here it goes, a few steps that should lead you closer to a happy state of being:
1. Let it go. You know what it is, and you need to just put it into an imaginary box and in your mind, toss it out.
2. In this crazy world, we have plenty to be angry over. But ask yourself this each day, did I say healing words to anyone around me today? Did I offer a peaceful moment to someone who needed a little understanding and a kind word? Offer some happiness by positively connecting with the people around you and be kind.
3. Be mindful, at the moment, as often as you can. Staying in the moment can bring some of the happiest moments you will ever have. Each moment is all you have at that very time, so savor every single moment as if itís your last.
4. Music and happiness are connected, and studies have proven it. Take advantage, and listen to your favorite music often. Feel it, love it, and you will be happier for it.
5. Love is kindness and kindness is love. For many of you, your dog or cat greets you with unconditional love and affection when you get home. Take a page from your dog or catís way of looking at things. Be excited to see your people be happy with their connection to you. Donít underestimate the happiness it brings to be part of a group, community, family and being with good friends.
6. Find a little room in your heart to like yourself. Itís OK to have some self-love for that person you spend the most time with, ďYOUĒ. Keep yourself in a positive light and have gratitude for all the beautiful things that make you who you are and what makes up your life.
Being happy is a state of mind and keeping yourself in a state of well-being is a choice. You have the opportunity to find time each day to be filled with happiness and contentment. Those minutes or hours of joy have a substantial positive and collective effect on your overall physical health and physical wellness.