Category Archives: happiness

Little things mean a lot

Here is a list of simple things that can make your life run better and make you a healthier person. Take it from an old guy who is still in there kicking.

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Is Happiness a Choice?

This is a wonderful explanation of happiness and our own experience of it. I subscribe to Positive Psychology.

Check out my Page – Positive Psychology – What’s it all about? for more details.

Tony

Thriving Under Pressure

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The Happiness Question

Have you ever wondered why some people remain upbeat and positive despite the chaos that surrounds them while others are utterly miserable even in good times?  What explains the difference between these two groups of individuals?

Are happy people just lucky people born happy? And unhappy people born miserable?  Or is happiness a choice we make day by day, moment to moment?

The answer to this question is mixed. On one hand, 50% of happiness is predetermined by biology (e.g., inborn temperament) while the remaining 50% is influenced by life circumstances and intentional activities.

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The Happiness Formula

As stated above, research indicates that approximately 50% of happiness is genetic (e.g., temperament), 10% is life circumstances (e.g., income), and 40% is intentional activities (e.g., daily exercise, meditation, forgiveness).

Though we may have little control over genetics and/or life circumstances — we do have personal agency when it comes…

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5 Lessons on making a happy life – Harvard

I am all for living a long and healthy life and this blog is filled with suggestions on achieving that. But, besides having a functional brain and body in our senior years, we also want to be happy about it. Harvard has studied a group of men and boys over the past 78 years in what is one of the longest studies of adult life ever done.

“The Harvard Study of Adult Development has tracked the lives of 724 men from the time they were teenagers into old age — 268 Harvard College sophomores, and 456 boys from Boston’s inner city.”

 

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Here are five of the big lessons they learned about what contributes to a good life.

Lesson 1: Happy childhoods matter

Having warm relationships with parents in childhood predicts that you will have warmer and more secure relationships with those closest to you in adulthood. We found that warm childhoods reached across decades to predict more secure relationships with spouses at age 80. A close relationship with at least one sibling in childhood predicts that people are less likely to become depressed by age 50. And warmer childhood relationships predict better physical health in adulthood all the way into old age. Continue reading

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The Best TV Show To Feel Joy, Amazement And Awe

This is so nice to learn, both on its own and in connection with nature itself for me. As I have written more than once one of my great pleasures riding my bike on the Chicago Lakefront is being out in nature.

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This was a sunrise I witnessed not long ago.

Tony

Our Better Health

The study compared TV show genres to see which makes people happiest.

Watching nature documentaries — like being out in nature itself — can help you feel happier.

The survey of 7,500 people around the world found they felt happier after viewing clips from BBC nature documentaries.

The study compared watching the documentary to the news or a popular drama show.

People reported that after viewing the nature documentary they felt more:

  • joy,
  • amazement,
  • awe,
  • and curiosity.

At the same time it reduced feelings of anger, tiredness and stress.

Professor Dacher Keltner, who teamed up with the BBC for the study, said:

“I have long believed that nature and viewing sublime and beautiful nature in painting, film and video shifts how we look at the world, and humbles us, brings into focus our core goals, diminishes the petty voice of the self and strengthens our nervous system.
When the BBC…

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Optimism may reduce risk of dying prematurely – Harvard

Having an optimistic outlook on life—a general expectation that good things will happen—may help people live longer, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Based on prospective health data from the Nurses Study in 2004, it found that women who were optimistic had a significantly reduced risk of dying from several major causes of death—including cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and infection—over an eight-year period, compared with women who were less optimistic.

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The study appeared online December 7, 2016 in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Continue reading

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12 Tips on staying inspired – Infographic

The word inspired has a second definition of breathing in. I wanted to share this infographic with you because, like the air that we breathe in to stay alive, there are a number of things we can do that will enhance and extend our lives. Some of them are simple and obvious; some aren’t.

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I think one of the problems with seeking good health and longevity is that we over complicate it. All we need to do is make sure that we eat intelligently, get regular exercise, get enough sleep and stay positively involved.

Here are some posts suggesting simple life extending actions:

How important is a good night’s sleep?

Why you should walk more

Positive psychology – What’s it all about?

Eat less; move more; live longer.

Tony

 

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8 Mind Shifts That Can Trigger Success & Happiness

I like these eight simple mental actions. They can clearly make a mountain of difference in your daily life if your aren’t practicing them.

These reminded me of the ideas from Dr. Maggie Crowley in Super tools for handling stress. Check it out.

optimism

Tony

Our Better Health

MARK DENICOLA     MARCH 17, 2016

As much as our lives may be impacted by our circumstance, I’m a firm believer that they are far more influenced by our attitude. While we may collectively look down upon certain things, you can almost always find an opposing, positive stance to pretty well everything.

Take a rainstorm, for example. Most would find it annoying, gloomy, and/or unfortunate, but others (such as a farmer) would consider it something to be happy, relieved, and/or excited about.

With so much of our experience being within our control, why do so many of us continually choose to take such pessimistic and negative views towards things? Here is a list of 8 mind shifts that I personally feel could be the keys to finding the always sought-after success and happiness:

(NOTE: Of course there are certain experiences that will be far more difficult to apply these…

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10 Simple Habits Proven to Make You Happier

Some really positive and productive ideas here.

I like number one about doing things for others. I have written about Random acts of kindness previously. There is also Anatomy of an act of kindness.

Of course, I love number three – Exercise. It is always a key element in health – mental or physical.

good enough

Tony

Our Better Health

A new survey of 5,000 people has found a strong link between self-acceptance and happiness, despite the fact that it’s a habit not frequently practised.

The finding comes from a survey carried out by the charity Action for Happiness, in collaboration with Do Something Different.

For their survey, they identified ten everyday habits which science has shown can make people happier.

Here are the 10 habits, with the average ratings of survey participants on a scale of 1-10, as to how often they performed each habit:

  1. Giving: do things for others — 7.41
  2. Relating: connect with people — 7.36
  3. Exercising: take care of your body — 5.88
  4. Appreciating: notice the world around — 6.57
  5. Trying out: keep learning new things — 6.26
  6. Direction: have goals to look forward to — 6.08
  7. Resilience: find ways to bounce back — 6.33
  8. Emotion:…

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5 ways to increase happiness

There are some simple and very useful ideas here.

I wrote about ocytocin here: What is the value of hugging?

I have a Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits)

 Tony

Your Life. BETTER.

1.  The Big “O” – Oxytocin: This is the hormone of trust and “love.” It is a natural calming and feel good chemical. It connects and bonds people together and when released will evoke feelings of contentment, reductions in anxiety, and feelings of calmness and security. Simply touching, hugging, and interacting with loved ones can release Oxytocin and enhance intimacy.

2.  Get Moving and Exercise: A proven way to enhance mood is to stay active and exercise. We have to move to be happy. Even a brisk walk can do wonders for our outlook and daily mood. When adults have around 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity per day it has been shown to be an important factor in not only physical health, but psychological well-being as well.

3.  Breathe Well: An often overlooked source of calm and health is deep breathing. Our breath is always with…

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The Happiness of Being Grateful!

I think the link between gratitude and our own happiness escapes us most of the time.

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Here are some posts on the subject:

Harvard on Positive Psychology

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

Can I be Happy?

How Satisfied Are You With Your Life?

Anatomy of an Act of Kindness

Breaking Down 8 Barriers of Positive Thinking – Infographic

Tony

 

Do you want to be Happy?

Of Course you do. Everyone does.

What if I told you I know the answer for being happy, but you need to follow it religiously in order to really be happy. That’s not to say you will never have moments of sadness, it’s life.

I loved reading this article because it truly showed me the meaning of Gratitude. It showed me the meaning of happiness. Being happy, to me, is not only my happiness but the happiness of others too. That is, bringing happiness to people around me.

The trick to being happy is to be grateful for what you have because you are blessed. If you are reading my blog at the moment, you are more blessed than many people because you have the ability to have access to the Internet and a computer and definitely shelter. So, take a moment to be thankful…

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10 Surprisingly Simple Happiness Tips

Lots of good ideas here. I think happiness and good health go hand in hand.

Book Review: The Tao of Winnie the Pooh by Benjamin Hoff (1982)

Here are some posts I have written on the subject:

How Satisfied Are You With Your Life?

Anatomy of an Act of Kindness

How to Reduce Stress – Harvard

8 Barriers to Positive Thinking – Infographic

22 Things Happy People do Differently – Infographic

Tony

Our Better Health

Tell the truth, avoid narcissists, and stay focused on the future.

Dec 29, 2015  Linda Esposito LCSW 

We all want to be happy. Our search leads us to seek advice from mental health professionals, clergy, best-selling authors, and Buddhist monks.

But despite the wealth of available information, two constants remain: One, there is no recipe for happiness. We’re all unique with different biology, childhoods, life experiences, and support systems. Two, happiness is a habit—and that’s good news, because you can choose to be happier.

To make your happiness journey more attainable, here are 10 common themes that researchers have found which lead to happiness.

“Sometimes, you just have to throw away the map. A map is a life someone else already lived. It’s more fun to make your own.” — Cora Carmack

1. Don’t expect happiness to come with a user’s manual.

Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell cites the food…

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Is Yogurt the Secret to Happiness?

I always have had positive feelings about yogurt. Nice to see some really upbeat facts about it, too.

Yogurt

To read more on the benefits of positive psychology, check out:

What is Positive Psychology?

What are the top Habits of Healthy Happy Productive People?

Why Should I be Happy?

Tony

Our Better Health

Recent research reveals fascinating new connections between gut and brain — and yogurt’s mood-boosting abilities.

By Reynard Loki / AlterNet December 15, 2015

Scientists have long known that the brain sends signals to the gut, a process that reveals why stress, for example, can express itself through gastrointestinal symptoms. But it wasn’t until 2013, when researchers at the UCLA uncovered the first evidence that the signal can go the other way as well: from gut to brain.

By studying a group of women who regularly ate yogurt — and with it, the beneficial bacteria known as probiotics — they found that ingested bacteria in food can affect human brain function, effectively altering the way the brain responds to the environment. Specifically, the researchers found that the bacteria in yogurt may help relieve anxiety and stress by reducing activity in the insula, the region of the brain responsible for emotion.

“Many…

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How Exercise Makes You Happy – Infographic

There are so many positive effects from exercise I sometimes wonder how some folks could spend so much time avoiding it. Besides the aspects listed below, there are others that affect the ‘machinery’ of the brain, check my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits) to read further.

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Tony

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5 Ways Your Diet Affects Your Mood

While exercise is also an important factor, eating a diverse diet of healthy, wholesome foods can have an incredible impact on how you feel each and every day. Be the best you can be by following a healthy, fun, well-rounded lifestyle filled with good, healthy foods.

How we handle stress is also key in keeping us healthy and happy. To learn more about keeping positive, check out:

What are the top habits of healthy, happy, productive people?
What is the Secret Ingredient to a Healthy, Happy Life?
How Exercise Makes You Happy – Infographic
75 Years In The Making: Harvard Just Released Its Epic Study On What Men Need To Live A Happy Life
Why happiness is healthy
Super Tools for Handling Stress

Tony

Our Better Health

Jordyn Cormier     January 25, 2015

While your mood sometimes dictates what foods you eat — hello ice cream – what you choose to eat can conversely affect your moods. While it may seem harmless enough, what you choose to eat for lunch could impact how you feel all afternoon. We all know about the “hangries” — being so hungry that you become cranky and angry — but once you’re fed, your meal can actually enhance or detract from your mental state. Here are 5 ways in which the foods you eat (or don’t eat) rule your moods.

Sugar levels. Most obviously, fluctuations in your blood sugar levels can have an incredible impact on mood. Low blood sugar can cause crankiness. On the other hand, a sharp spike in blood sugar can provide a sense of feel-good before sharply crashing into the pit of despair. A good idea to…

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What are the Top Habits of Healthy, Happy, Productive People? – Infographic

I have to tell you that when I stumbled across this infographic on Pinterest, I was amazed. There is so much good information in this, I can hardly believe it. I hope you will promise yourself to dig into it and read and evaluate every little point. This is like a full course on being healthy, happy and productive. In a word – POSITIVE.

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I have no doubt that if you study this infographic and adopt its positive practices, your life will change for the better. I know because I began the practice of positive psychology several years ago and my life has never been better.

Here are some posts on living a positive life:
What is Positive Psychology?
Breaking down 8 Barriers to Positive Thinking – Infographic
How to Become a Positive Thinker
Positive Thoughts To Dwell On
7 Exercises That Train Your Brain to Stay Positive
How to Harness Positive Psychology for You – Harvard
Positive, Happy People Suffer Less Pain

Tony

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An Optimistic Outlook May Be Good for Your Heart

“There’s a lot of psychological research linking pro-social behaviors to better health,” she said. “Gratitude, for example, has been linked to lower impulsivity, higher salaries, better sleep and stronger relationships. And this strikes me as yet another study that reinforces an intuitive knowledge that probably most people have that our mind and body are linked.”

Regular readers know how strongly I feel about living a positive life. Here are some previous posts:
Breaking down 8 Barriers to Positive Thinking – Infographic
How to Become a Positive Thinker
7 Exercises That Train Your Brain to Stay Positive
How to Harness Positive Psychology for You – Harvard
Positive, Happy People Suffer Less Pain
What is Positive Psychology?

Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

Study of more than 5,100 adults found a strong correlation between the two.

Accenting the positive may be good for your heart, with a large study suggesting that optimistic people seem to have a significant leg up when it comes to cardiovascular health.

“Research has already shown a link between psychological pathology and poor physical health,” said study lead author Rosalba Hernandez, an assistant professor in the school of social work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “So we decided to look at whether there’s also a link between psychological well-being and good physical health.

“And by looking at optimism as a measure of psychological well-being, we found that after adjusting all sorts of socio-economic factors — like education, income and even mental health — people who are the most optimistic do have higher odds of being in ideal cardiovascular health, compared with the least optimistic,” she added.

Hernandez…

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