Happiness may be contagious…ya think???
Breaking news from London…“Happiness is like a stampede,” said Nicholas Christakis, a professor in Harvard University’s sociology department.
After 20 years of intensive study, researchers have discovered that happiness is contagious and that even your good cheer can be passed on to strangers.
But wait, there’s more….. (sounds like an infomercial, right?) Actually, here are my top seven ways to be happy. There may be more, but seven is plenty. By the way if you know of more, let me know.
1. Be in a state of perpetual gratitude. The more you concentrateon what is good in your life, the happier you will be. Being grateful about small things really helps. This may be especially challenging when you are experiencing difficulties, but like any other good habit, you can develop and strengthen your gratitude muscles. For example, I say to myself, “I am so happy and grateful to be able to share my thoughts with thousands of readers.”
2. Have meaningful and fulfilling work. If you have ever been to one of my seminars, likely you have heard me say, “If you aren’t happy doing the work you do, please do what makes you happy.” Life is way too short to be stressed out because you are not working with your personal talents and/or doing the thing you love. When you do what you love…and you do it well, the money will chase you. In fact, you won’t even call it work.
3. Have a relationship with God. You define God the way you wish. Spirituality is crucial to happiness. Being in close touch with your maker, creator, the source of your life, the designer of the universe, etc. is innate to humans. Not only does it stimulate happiness, but humility and personal power. It also helps you comprehend that we are all connected as humans.
4. Maintain your health and energy. You don’t have to be a marathon runner or Olympian to remain healthy. Regular exercise and good nutrition stimulates joy endorphins and happiness hormones in your neurological system. It is much easier to project good energy to others when your personal energy is abundant. About 18 months ago, I began practicing Bikram Yoga. This is an intense practice which combines Hatha and Raja yoga. I practice at least four times a week. I have been an avid athlete all of my life, but this is the most physically, mentally and emotionally fulfilling activity I have ever done for my health and energy. What is yours?
5. Wrap yourself in friends, family and loved ones. You must have a circle of people with whom you share your goals, dreams, heartaches, laughs, and life. There is no replacement for the good times you can share with loved ones. These are the people that love you just for being YOU. That’s cool.
6. Serve humanity. You must extend yourself outside of yourself. That means giving your talents, skills, resources and wisdom to others in need or at least who will appreciate it. When it’s always about YOU, eventually you will feel hollow. When you contribute to others, you have that internal smile which is contagious.
7. Chill out. “Don’t worry, be happy,” is the chorus of Bobby McFerrin’s song. How often have you worried about things that never happened? Worry is a useless emotion. Mark Twain said, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”
Happiness is contagious, but more importantly, it doesn’t have to be an accident. I welcome your comments on this blog.
Until our paths cross again, take care of yourself and your loved ones.