Even if your exposure to the news is limited to a five-minute radio broadcast a couple times a week, it’s no surprise to you that life on planet Earth seems to be more threatened, stressful and intense with every passing day.
In light of the global challenges we’re facing, to focus on your personal happiness can seem frivolous or callously self-centered.
But the fact is you need to take time to attend to your happiness more than ever when times are tough. Here’s why:
1. Happiness Lets You See the Bigger Picture
As Dr. Barbara Fredrickson’s studies have proved, a positive orientation toward life lets you look at things with a broadened viewpoint. When you’re happy, you’re more open to noticing the things in life that are beautiful, and satisfying, and good. You see the roses, not just the thorns.
But not only that, but you’re more likely to spot new possibilities and opportunities. You can ask more positive “What if” questions, and find more creative, playful, daring, and ingenious answers to your situation.
Positivity lets you see solutions, not just problems. And even in those cases where there are no solutions, positivity helps you see how to manage the problems in the best possible way.
2. Happiness Keeps You Healthier
When you take time to enjoy life, your physical health improves. You’re less vulnerable to stress. Your immune system is stronger. You’re more likely to eat healthier, to exercise more, and to sleep better. That matters a lot when times are tough. Good health helps you be more resilient, capable and strong.
3. Happiness Helps Those Around You
Happiness is contagious. By turning on your own happiness, you’re performing a genuine service to others. Research shows that happiness spreads three people deep. When you’re happy, the friend of a friend of your friend is likely to feel happier, too. Your happiness reaches out to others to lighten their loads, brighten their days, lift their spirits, and give them hope. That, in itself, is reason to be happy, isn’t it?
4. Happiness Lets You Be the Real You
Genuine happiness springs from your own unique makeup. The combination of things that brings out your senses of delight and pleasure, meaning and satisfaction is unlike anyone else’s. When you’re happiest, you’re centered in authenticity, connected to your heart. In a real sense, feeling genuine happiness is a spiritual experience, not unlike love.
5. You Only Live Once
“When you’re at my funeral,” he said, “and looking down into my coffin, you tell everybody that every day I did what I wanted to, okay? Tell them that every day I had some fun.”
That’s a beautiful request. I wish every one of us could ask the same.
We only get to walk on this planet in this time frame inside these wondrous, vulnerable, one-of-a-kind bodies of ours once. Being happy is a way to say thanks for the experience.
No matter how foreboding the world may seem at the moment, no matter how deep the pile of problems you see around you, the world is brimming with things that can stir your senses of awe and wonder, that can give you pleasure, and peace, and delight.
Let life’s colors and sounds, its fragrances, tastes and textures be gifts you give yourself. Revel in the relationships that bring out the joy in you. Savor the memories of those times when life was especially sweet or fun. Carve out little niches of time to spend doing the things that please and enrich and satisfy you. Seek out whatever brings you joy.
You deserve it. Just because, for right this now, you’re here. This is your one life: Today. Make the most of it. Make time for happiness.
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Photos by: “theswedish,” stock.xchng