Spring Into Happiness

Tips From Toni

By Toni Lynn Davis, MHA, CNHA, FACHCA
CEO and President Green Hill Inc.

Spring Into Happiness

A new study concludes that the feelings of happiness and well-being are linked to good heart health and a longer life. This is good news for people of any age and especially our seniors.

In an article in the New York Times by Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, it is stated that half of happiness is genetically predetermined, an additional 40 percent of happiness comes from recent, and past events, and 12 percent of happiness is within our own control. The United States Constitution promotes the ‘pursuit of happiness’ as one of the founding principals of an American’s inalienable rights.

Brooks says there are four basic values of happiness including faith, family, community and work. “Empirical evidence that faith, family and friendships increase happiness and meaning is hardly shocking. Few dying patients regret overinvesting in rich family lives, community ties and spiritual journeys,” wrote Brooks. Work that one enjoys is very important to one’s personal happiness. Many people believe that having a lot of money would make them happy but evidence shows that the highest level of happiness comes from merely meeting basic needs.
The definition of happiness, circa 1520, is a quality state of being happy and/or good fortune, pleasure contentment and joy. To be happy is to be delighted, pleased, glad or favored by fortune. I believe to be happy is an art of thought over circumstance, an action not a response. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.”
The Daila Lama says, “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” Epictetus relayed, “There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”

Spring into happiness for the season, and practice the art and health of being happy by acting on one or more of the following actions;

1. Do things for others. Get involved in your community and spend time with others, reach out to people you care about.

2. Do things that give you pleasure. Go to the movies, listen to music, play cards with friends, dance, paint or create.

3. Do not worry over things for which you have no control. Embrace each moment of every day for the blessing it is. Visualize happiness, fond memories, and loved ones.

4. Keep learning new things. Read a book, take a class, go to new places and see new things.

5. Explore your senses. Eat foods that please you, look at art, spend time outside in nature, listen to the sounds of the world, smell the air, and recognize those pleasures.

6. Stay healthy, exercise and stretch, walk. Endorphins released by exercise create happy feelings.