Two women taking a walk


May 11, 2023
by ChristinaV | For Seniors


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Much research has been done to suggest that being happy and content in our lives can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, respiratory function, and other negative health issues.  Consequently, having an optimistic attitude may equate to a longer life.

Happiness will always mean different things to different people, but regardless of how you define it, it is possible to regularly attain and can be defined by experiences both large and small.  Most people share a quest for happiness, whether that means the way the sun bursts through clouds on an overcast day or a perfect cup of morning coffee, to graduating from high school or college, the birth of a child, a wedding, etc.  These moments make our hearts and minds feel lighter and our cares erased.  They can also make you feel that your life is on track and that you are in the right place at the right time.

Occasionally we can become victims of our own negative thinking.  Or we may suffer from mild to severe depression, in which case, it is important to seek professional help for these symptoms.  If we find we cannot think of any joyful moments in our lives, we should examine why that is and what the blockage is that is standing between us and our ability to experience joy.  Accepting our feelings and what is standing in the way of our happiness is the first step toward healing and, if we pay attention, may be an indication that we need to make some changes in our life.  It is simply up to us to determine.

Finding happiness through the power of positive thinking is a skill that can be learned.  When we focus on what brings us joy and makes us happy instead of on negatives, we change our whole thinking process.  Finding something to be happy about every single day can help this take place.  The vantage point from which we view the world needs to be balanced.

To get a start on discovering happiness and joy, here are a few beginning tips:

  • Take stock of where you are now in your life.  Are you generally a happy person or do you tend to focus on negatives?  For example, if you have friends who are “snowbirds” who go back to their summer homes in the spring, do you feel sad and unhappy?  Or do you feel grateful that you have them as friends and look forward to seeing and spending time with them when they return in the fall and winter months?
  • Reframe negative situations in your mind.  This does not mean you should avoid dealing with an unpleasant event, but rather that you view and approach it from a different perspective.  Try to think of what you can do to make the situation better.
  • Keep a happiness journal.  For those who do not enjoy writing, this does not have to be an arduous ordeal.  You can simply jot down one or two positive things that happened to you that day.  Perhaps someone let you go ahead of them in line at the grocery store or you saw a commercial that touched your heart or made you laugh out loud.
  • Develop healthy, supportive relationships.  Having a strong social network is important at every stage in our lives.  Do not isolate yourself but get out there and be around people.  Focus on spending your time with positive, supportive people, not with naysayers, gossipers, or otherwise negative people.
  • Discover your creative side and be good to yourself.  Take an art class, dance like no one is looking, sing aloud to a song you love, curl up with a good book, etc.
  • Spend time outside in nature with the sunshine vitamin and be sure to wear an appropriate sunscreen.
  • Aim to keep your living environment clean and tidy.
  • Get plenty of exercise to release endorphins that make us feel good.
  • Get enough sleep.

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