Tuesday, May 6, 2014

My Happiness Advantage

We recently watched this video at work.. part of an all-encompassing positive change to the company.

At first glance, I thought the video would entail some sort of problem-solving or dealing techniques, a way to cope with life's pesky little problems. Instead, it was an hour long interesting discussion on how your brain is powerful and dumb, at the same time. That in a way, you can "trick" yourself to be happy and in doing so, become healthier, happier and more successful.

And it all boiled down to the philosophy that happiness is a choice, and one we must make every morning.

I listened intrigued, to the research that this Harvard graduate had combed over from years of observation and studying, finding what happy people have in common and how this relates to their health. And from that, he narrowed happiness down to five key factors; five habits that breed positive outlooks which in turn equate happiness.

I couldn't help but smirk when he went through all five. It sounded like he was narrating my life. All those habits were tactics I applied in some shape or form since I was a cognizant adult. Be grateful for three things in your life every day? Check. Smile more than three times a day, consciously? I'm surprised my maxillofacial muscles aren't permanently locked into smile mode sans botex. Send positive notes to at least one person every day? It's no wonder why my phone can't hold a charge to midday most days of the week. Spend 15 minutes a day doing some "fun activity" that requires physical movement? In most cases, it's 2-3 hours per day for me. And last, the cornerstone: Have a social support network, of at least 21 people. Since I can think far back enough, lack of people in my life has never been an issue. In fact, normally I am torn between saying no to a good friend because another needs something as well. So, I guess I should be super happy right? Well...

I am. Despite the occasional dark clouds that roll in, despite the potholes in the road and the inclement weather, I am a happy person. And on that note, I'd like to modify my previous statement that "Optimism is the staff and companion of those unblemished by life." It's not that life hasn't blemished us, or that we don't hurt at times because of events in our past; but we choose to rise above it and focus on the big picture.

I have great friends, a wonderful, united family, and everything I need to lead a fulfilling and satisfying life. I strive to see the positive in life, I don't sweat the small stuff, or things I have no control over. I like to cultivate and maintain friendships like careful little plants. My life is incredibly busy; I work full-time, I work part-time, I volunteer an average of 70 hours a month- and that's just how I like it. Being productive and busy in life has kept me focused on the future and the wonderful things that still lie ahead. However; I am not happy only because I do those five things every day. Surely, they play a big role on being optimistic.

But at the end of the day, what's my happiness advantage? It's derived from my stalwart hope of the future and the solid relationship I have with most important person in the universe.

Oh, and P.S. I plan on living way past 94..