You might not think a case would need to be made for feeling happy. Yet, all you need to do is stop and listen – unhappiness is everywhere. Everyday coworkers gripe about the “pain-in-the-butt customer” or their coworker who is not pulling his share of the load. Then there are the relatives and ungrateful adult children who suck time, money, and energy. Spouses and bosses aren’t immune either. Complaints arise about how unappreciative and challenging they are. In general, people are not feeling it – NOT feeling happy.
Warning! Mind-blowing statement ahead…
Feeling happy is a choice!
I can feel your eyes rolling. I know what you’re thinking, Choice? Are you kidding?
NOT kidding. We CAN and SHOULD actively choose happiness over chronic sadness, anxiety, and depression. Actively practicing happiness helps reduce health-related issues and can add longevity to our lives.
The following are TEN great reasons to practice happiness daily.
1. Feeling happy is good for the waistline.
When we feel happy, we are less likely to snack between meals or overeat when stressed. When we feel stressed and unhappy, we turn to food to provide immediate gratification and fill the void we feel inside. My fix is usually salty carbs or sugary sweets. My ultimate fix has typically been chocolate chip cookies (although often that delicious dough never makes it into the oven!).
2. Feeling happy reduces the chance of accidents and mishaps.
Have you ever noticed that when you feel troubled or low negative things tend to happen? You might be feeling embarrassed and unhappy about a reprimand you received at work for missing a deadline. Then, on your drive home, you almost rear-end the car in front of you. What really happened here? You were likely distracted by reviewing the video in your head of the reprimand. Your attention was on that scene and not on the traffic in front of you. Feeling happy emotions keeps you in the present moment, not on a distant memory or experience.
3. Feeling happy makes us smile.
Have you ever had someone ask what you are so happy about? Suddenly, you realize you are smiling. You weren’t even thinking about smiling, and there you were…smiling.
When we smile, the brain releases hormones that create a chemical change within your body, resulting in a good feeling. Go ahead, try it. I double-dog dare you to smile right now. Now hold that smile for 30 seconds and notice how you feel.
4. Feeling happy is contagious.
There’s no better example for me than my BFF’s contagious happiness over the annual Christmas bazaar held at my husband’s workplace. I used to dread going because I didn’t know very many people. Then, I started bringing Kathi with me to the event. Throughout the evening, we laugh, make fun of ourselves, and make silly comments about the strange holiday gift offerings provided by some of the vendors. We’ve seen it all at this event – from taxidermized snakes to full hunting “outfits” for women with hot pink camo. (Like what animal isn’t going to see hot pink? – we actually think they’re intended to scare the prey!) I now look forward to this event each year because I know how it’s sure to be fun, and my cheeks will hurt at the end of the night from smiling so hard.
5. Feeling happy makes us live longer.
Studies conducted at the University of London’s English Longitudinal Study of Aging found that people over the age of 50 who experience feelings of satisfaction about life are likely to live longer. The influence of emotional well-being is significant, even when considering the effects of age, disease, and lifestyle. This research found that happy people had a 35 percent lower risk of death than unhappy folks.
6. Feeling happy keeps us healthier.
Healing hormones are what strengthen the body’s immune system, according to Healthline.com. Their research has shown that feeling happy both boosts the immune system and may reduce our risk of colds, infections, and cases of flu. An article on How Stuff Works, claims we can increase our antibodies by as much as 50 percent just by feeling happy.
7. Feeling happy improves employability.
Employers are always looking to hire candidates who exhibit happiness. They know that happy employees positively influence customers’ buying habits and are most likely to ensure a positive experience. Additionally, happiness can influence individual productivity, and ultimately, company profits.
8. Feeling happy can make us more successful.
Happiness is the pre-requisite to success. And it’s a constant. Once you’ve landed a great job because you exhibited a happy attitude, don’t stop being happy. Each step forward is achieved through a positive, cheerful demeanor. Choosing to be happy regularly opens us to all possibilities. Happy people typically have greater professional success.
9. Feeling happy makes us stand out.
In the vacuum of negativity and complaining, the happy person is a fresh breeze. Think about it. Who would you rather spend time with? The complainer? Or a happy person? That’s an easy answer. No one wants to get sucked into the vacuum.
Next time someone asks, “how are you,” respond with, “I’m choosing to be happy. How about you?”. It’s honest, and it sets the tone. And others will thank you.
Cautionary Note: Please don’t be the fake happy person. Choose authentic happiness. Be real.
10. Feeling happy draws positive people to us.
When you’re happy, you generate a positive vibration that attracts others of similar positivity. Like attracts like. Positive attracts positive. Which means negative attracts negative, too.
Ultimately, there are plenty of valuable reasons to feel happy. The big question is, how?
Choosing to be happy requires us to recognize when we are feeling UNhappy. In those times, we need to evaluate our thoughts and experiences around our unhappiness. They are most likely the cause. Then, look for a positive perspective of your situation. Think, “I didn’t get the part, but maybe it’s because something else is coming that is better for me.” Choose to consider an uplifting point of view, one that generates happiness and positivity over sadness and perceived failure. Ask yourself, “what did I learn”? Then, find happiness in recognizing the lesson, not in focusing on the loss. If you learn something, it’s never a failure or a waste.
Choosing to feel happy requires personal oversight and practice. It starts with an awareness of how you are currently feeling.
Choose to feel happy. You’ll be glad you did.