Real Happiness May Be About the Right Choices
By Sandy Schroeder
Wherever you are right now, happy, sad, mad or glad, Harvard Health suggests letting go of worries, fears and frustrations to focus on making the right choices to make everything better.
How It Works
Much of our ability to be content does reside in our genes, which means some lucky people are just naturally happy. On the other hand, Harvard researchers says 40 percent of our happiness comes from the choices that we make.
"The idea that you can't be happier is false," says Dr. Robert Waldinger, director of the longest-running study on happiness, the Harvard Study on Adult Development. "We now know a great deal about what does and does not help."
Here's what the researchers suggest you do.
Stay in touch - Tight relationships with spouse, family and friends creates a flow of spirit lifts to combat the tide of demands, frustrations and daily situations. On the other hand, if you hide out, and forget to make the effort to reach out, you risk loneliness, which may be an even greater risk than smoking.
Learn to let go - This can be a hard one if you are used to tending to business and running every detail down. But as you move ahead on the job, or watch your kids grow, you may gradually realize the small stuff is just that, not worth constant effort. Find a balance where you can maintain schedules, but still allow time for those around you. Focus on what makes you happiest.
Invest in time, not things - See what you can do to lighten your load to still get the work done, but allow time daily to sit down every day for dinner with your family, or spend time on the weekends, walking, reading, playing games. Getting the house cleaning done or the groceries delivered may bring better results than acquiring some new item online.
Find out how you can help others - There are all sorts of situations all around us that would welcome our attention. Look for ways to volunteer that match your skills and help out at the library, senior center or animal shelter. The response is often so amazing, you may benefit just as much as they do. I think some of the best memories my kids had of their childhood were the ones where they spent a Saturday at the marine center, or helped clean the beach.
Start moving and keep moving - People who walk, run or work out daily often know how much better they feel when they keep that fitness cycle going. Endorphins that soothe pain and create feelings of contentment just keep showing up, which will pull you out for the next cycle.
Ready to be a lot happier? Focus on what works and try these tips from Harvard Health researchers.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Colorado Springs, Colo.