Monday, March 14, 2016

Celebrate International Day of Happiness--Every Day

March 20 is International Day of Happiness. Instead of feeling good for just one day, why not take the steps to make every day the happiest and most fulfilling it can be?

If doing what you can to be happy sounds like too much effort, the alternative can literally shorten your life. In a 2011 study, researchers at University College, London, gauged the happiness levels of people ages 52 to 79 by monitoring their feelings several times over a day. Then, five years later, the researchers examined how many of those people had died. The result? Older people who are happy have a 35 percent lower risk of dying over a five-year period than unhappy people. Even after the researchers controlled for medical conditions including cancer and diabetes, and health risks such as smoking, being happy was still linked with living longer.

Besides being happy, those who live longer are also grateful. Research out of UC Berkeley found that, regardless of life circumstances, grateful people are more satisfied with their lives than people who aren’t grateful. Highly grateful people have stronger immune systems, are sick less often, have lower blood pressure and experience less depression and anxiety, all of which are strongly linked to greater longevity.

Add a healthy dose of appreciation and optimism and you are well on your way to seeing the world in a happier light. Start by making a list of all that you appreciate. It may take you a while if you’re not used to this exercise, but it’s well worth the effort in terms of the value-add to your long-term well-being and future happiness.

For example, you can be grateful that you are living on this amazing planet, that your health enables you to be active or that you have the love of family and friends. Whatever it is you are grateful for, embrace it.

Do this on March 20 and then try it again the next day, and the next. With not a lot of effort, you’ll see a positive change in the way you look at the world and those around you.

To learn more about the mind-physical body connection, go to

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