Choosing Happiness in the New Year

Choosing Happiness in the New Year
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Did you know your emotional happiness could contribute to better health? In an article published by the National Institute of Health, the link between emotional health and physical health is discussed. Not only do they show that emotional well-being is a very important part of overall healthiness, but they show a causal link between emotional turmoil and physical illness. 

Other studies show at least a circular relationship between emotional health and physical health.  Someone who is not emotionally healthy will experience more stress and make poorer food choices, which can cause a decline in physical health. When someone's health declines, he or she may be more prone to symptoms of depression and anxiety.

For these reasons, it is imperative that anybody concerned about becoming healthier address emotional health as well. The National Institute of Health has a great definition of emotional health: 'Being confident and positive and able to cope with the ups and downs of life.' Not ironically, this is also a great definition of happiness!

What does happiness mean?

Notice that the definition of happiness doesn't really have anything to do with your circumstances. It's not dependent upon the car you drive, the paycheck you bring home or whether or not your kids behave. Happiness is also not about faking some Pollyanna attitude during sad or frustrating times. 

Happiness is a chronic attitude that allows you to appreciate the great things in life and weather the storms when they come your way. True happiness is not the giddiness behind a belly laugh, but is instead a way to live life that leads to increased moments of great big belly laughs. 

Tips for becoming happier

  • Be mindful: This basically means that you should pay attention to the moment. Use all of your senses to fully experience even the smallest, most routine tasks. It is during the most routine tasks that you also have the most opportunity for appreciation.
  • Stay in the moment: It is so easy to start thinking about what happened yesterday, what you need to do today and what you must remember for the future. Unfortunately, all of this attention on yesterday and tomorrow means you miss right now. 
  • Smile: Especially on days when you might be a bit down in the dumps, it's good to fake it 'till you make it. Smiling is contagious and what you give away in the morning might come back your way in the afternoon.
  • Practice: If you're not used to happiness, the best way to practice is by engaging in attitudes of gratitude and compassion.  It's always easier to be happy when you realize how blessed you are. 
  • Permit yourself: Too many people feel they're not worthy of being happy or don't have time to be happy.  They have a multitude of excuses: losing a job, having financial difficulties, fighting with a spouse.  Remember that happiness is the ability to cope in the midst of difficult times. So give yourself some latitude and give yourself a break. 
  • Let it go: There are very few things in this life we truly have control over. And those things we have control of do not include a spouse, a parent, a child or a friend. Let go of everything that is outside of your control and recognize your limitations. 

Happiness is a choice, my friend!  


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