Tag Archives: happiness

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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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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What Self-Care Is — and What It Isn’t

More good step by step info on living a healthy and happy life.

Healthy-Lifestyle

To read more on the value of exercise, check out my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits)

For more on how good sleep is for the body, check out – How important is a good night’s sleep?

Tony

Our Better Health

When asked the question: “Do you take care of yourself?” most of us will answer yes — we’d even think, “What kind of question is this? Of course I care about myself.”

When asked, “In what ways do you take care of yourself?” — well, that’s where the tricky part begins.

What is self-care?

Self-care is any activity that we deliberately do in order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health. Although it’s a simple idea in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also keep to a good relationship with oneself and others.

What isn’t self-care?

Knowing what self-care is not might be even more important. It is not something that we force ourselves to do, or something we don’t enjoy doing. As Agnes Wainman defined, self-care is “something that refuels us, rather than takes…

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5 Ways Hope Improves Your Success

Our Better Health

The Challenge: We all want to find inner peace and perform at our best -how can we do it?
The Science: Hope is a little-known secret to getting ahead and improving well-being! 
The Solution: Implementing a hopeful mindset in life gives you 5 serious advantages!

Psychologists have proposed lots of different vehicles to success over the years. Grit, conscientiousness, self-efficacy, optimism, passion, inspiration, etc. They are all important. One vehicle, however, is particularly undervalued and underappreciated in psychology and society. That’s hope.

Hope often gets a bad rap. For some, it conjures up images of a blissfully naïve chump pushing up against a wall with a big smile. That’s a shame. Cutting-edge science shows that hope, at least as defined by psychologists, matters a lot.

Here are 5 reasons hope gives you a serious advantage:

Hope Gives You Willpower

Why is hope important? Well, life is difficult. There are many…

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What is the Value of Hugging?

What is the value of hugging? Oh yes, it feels nice and likely makes the other person feel nice, too, but are there real tangible benefits to hugging? Or, is that all there is.

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Turns out that there are real measurable benefits from hugging. Scientists have isolated a hormone, a healthy neuropeptide – oxytocin – that is released into the blood stream when you hold a friend close. As a result your blood pressure goes down as well as stress and anxiety.

The skin is the largest organ of the body and as such is loaded with nerve sensors of light touch, heavy touch, p ressure, heat, cold, pain, etc. Just the act of being touched increases production of a specific hormone within the brain, Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) which activates greater nervous system and nerve net development. That is just from touch. Hugging is the next level up.

Research from the University of Vienna points out that you need to be selective about who you are hugging. A polite squeeze to someone socially that you aren’t close to can have the opposite effect.

Partners in functional relationships have been found to have increased oxytocin levels. The hormone promotes bonding, social behavior and closeness between family members and couples.

Dr. Kathleen C. Light, a professor at the University of North Carolina Department of Psychiatry, studies oxytocin in married couples and those permanently living together. She has found an increase in the hormone over time in close couples.

The National Institute of Health’s News in Health publication reported that “Oxytocin makes us feel good when we’re close to family and other loved ones, including pets. It does this by acting through what scientists call the dopamine reward system. Dopamine is a brain chemical that plays a crucial part in how we perceive pleasure….

“Oxytocin does more than make us feel good. It lowers the levels of stress hormones in the body, reducing blood pressure, improving mood, increasing tolerance for pain and perhaps even speeding how fast wounds heal. It also seems to play an important role in our relationships. It’s been linked, for example, to how much we trust others.”

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Barbara Frederickson points out in her book Positivity “Although any single hug, or moment of positivity, is unlikely to change your life, the slow and steady accumulation of hugs – or positivity – makes a huge difference. So, find a way to increase your daily dose of genuine, heart-to-heart, hang-on-tight hugs. You will not only give and receive good feelings, but over time, you’ll give and receive good health.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Tony

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How exercise makes you happy – Infographic

Regular readers know how much I value the benefits of exercise. So, I was very happy to stumble upon this infographic on fresh benefits of exercise.

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Please check out my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits) to read further.

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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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Choice Theory: 7 Relationship Habits

 These sound like some good positive observations.

7 Relationship Habits

To read more on positive psychology check out:

Positive psychology – what’s it all about?

How to become a positive thinker

Tony

Our Better Health

Written on July 26, 2011     by Laura in Choice Theory and Reality Therapy

“Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

As long as we insist on controlling people around us, we will create completely unnecessary suffering in our lives.  Dr. William Glasser, creator of choice theory and reality therapy, explains that people are in control of almost all of their behaviors.  We are all driven by our genes to satisfy our “basic needs”: survival, love & belonging, power, freedom, and fun.  While we all vary in the degree to which these needs are important, what we all have in common is the need for satisfying…

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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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Your Health Benefits When You Retire – Study

A landmark study led by University of Sydney has found that people become more active, sleep better and reduce their sitting time when they retire.

Published in the Journal of Preventative Medicine, the study followed the lifestyle behaviors of 25,000 older Australians including physical activity, diet, sedentary behavior, alcohol use and sleep patterns.

“Our research revealed that retirement was associated with positive lifestyle changes,” said lead researcher Dr Melody Ding, Senior Research Fellow at the University’s School of Public Health.

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“Compared with people who were still working, retirees had increased physically activity levels, reduced sitting time, were less likely to smoke, and had healthier sleep patterns.

“A major life change like retirement creates a great window of opportunity to make positive lifestyle changes – it’s a chance to get rid of bad routines and engineer new, healthier behaviors.” she said.

The data revealed that retirees:
•    Increased physical activity by 93 minutes a week
•    Decreased sedentary time by 67 minutes per day
•    Increased sleep by 11 minutes per day
•    50 per cent of female smokers stopped smoking Continue reading

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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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