Remember the song—“If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands . . . If you’re happy and you know it, your life will surely show it . . .” Harvard Business Review knows what happiness can do for your health. This year they devoted many pages (and a cover) to the topic.
Yet, happiness isn’t just about being happy. It also taps into your overall wellness and well-being goals. And, you don’t have to block out any time during the day to create happiness. You don’t have to count calories or pay attention to portion size (although you should anyway) to create happiness. You do have to be aware, and you do have to make positive choices that cumulatively will lead to happiness.
There are many definitions of happiness—feeling or showing pleasure, contentment or joy, feeling that something is right or has been done right, a deep sense of inner stability, peace, well-being, and vitality that is consistent and sustainable. Happiness is important to your well-being because it provides endless and long-ranging benefits. And, it’s much more than just the absence of negative emotions or feelings.
A few examples from the Harvard study . . .
As for health benefits—a 50 percent reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease, improved immune system function, adds protection against some cancers and slows the progression of disease. And here’s a surprise—happiness is s a greater benefit to increased longevity than quitting smoking.
Anyone following LoneStart Wellness and our “Wellness & Well-being” Blog knows we are all about behavioral change. Behavioral benefits of happiness include some major personal plusses. You are more likely to make good decisions, you are more likely to be physically active, make good nutritional choices, and get an adequate amount of sleep.
For employers, and this is important, if your employees are happy, you can count on lower absenteeism, lower job turnover, increased productivity, lower healthcare costs, and even improved corporate citizenship. What’s not to love? Doesn’t just knowing how great happiness can be make you happy?
True, you can’t just decide to be happy—but on the other hand, you can work towards happiness by changing those lifestyle choices that will change your outlook, and in turn lead to the satisfaction of knowing you are doing what you can do to be your best—be in your best health, giving and getting the most from your relationships, making those decisions in your best interests, and living up to your potential in all those areas over which you have control.
If you have time (give it a 3-minute limit for starters), how about a moment of reflection on what you have, rather than what you don’t have—and build from there.