Don’t Worry Be Happy

Repeat after me: The glass is half-full. And half-full is plenty, so take a sip if you’re thirsty.

This attitude, it seems, may be the key to that elusive state of mind we call happiness. There’s an interesting article at MSNBC about how positive thinking and acts of kindness are essential components to feeling better. Traits such as appreciation and generosity seem to lead to happiness more often than not.Apart from boosting one’s spirit, scientists are increasingly convinced that a positive mindset can have significant health benefits. An upbeat attitude appears to counteract the negative health effects associated with stress. And happier people tend to resist infections and viruses.
The article is full of strategies to cultivate happiness, which seems to boil down to adopting a more positive and generous emotional style.
According to their happiness expert, (now there’s a job title I’d like) feeling good can be as simple as training yourself to see that the glass is actually half-full.

Here are some tips on how to cultivate happiness:

  • A new study showed that people who kept “gratitude journals” — presumably recording and recognizing their blessings — felt happier. The act caused them to focus on things that they appreciate, rather than regret or lack.
  • Scientists are also studying the role played by altruism and kindness. My guess is that they’ll conclude that doing good deeds feels better than going on a shopping spree.
  • Feeling connected to others and engaged with one’s community seems to be a vital part of remaining positive.
  • Money and attaining personal goals don’t seem to be as likely to lead to happiness as devoting time and energy to causes in community.

Personally, it seems pretty impossible to change all those negative thought patterns just like that. Err… scratch that. What I meant to say was: A positive outlook sounds just dandy.

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