International Day of Happiness

Good morning everyone,

Today and tomorrow are both going to be as gorgeous as yesterday-lots of blue skies and temperatures in the high teens. From Wednesday, it'll cloud over and cool down. In fact, we'll probably see highs in the low teens for most of the week and the weekend starting from Wednesday.

There's a children's song where one of the lines is, "If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands." But if you want to stay that way and perhaps be even happier, you can be creative . . . or give back . . . or enlist a positive attitude . . . or be mindful.

Such are some suggestions from Live Happy: Ten Practices for Choosing Joy. The book by Deborah Heisz, was released earlier this week —just in time for International Day of Happiness.

If that day isn’t already on your calendar, it officially takes place today.

Three components determine our happiness level. Some 50 per cent is genetics, she says; if you have happy parents, you have a good shot at being happy, too.

Of the other 50 per cent, “let’s say 10 is based on environment,” Heisz says. The rest, more significant than environment, are “the things we choose to do, the actions we take in response to the world, not the things imposed upon us.”

Happiness can change your brain. Expressing gratitude shows increased activity in your hypothalamus, which regulates your eating, drinking, sleep, your metabolism and stress level, she says. You can “rewire how neurons fire in your brain over time.”

Being happy is easy to do. And easy not to do. The steps outlined in the book —taking a positive attitude, being grateful — can be simple. Take five minutes every day to write down three things that went right, for instance.

“It becomes second nature,” she says. “Like any habit, once you do it long enough, it becomes part of your life. Don’t try to do all 10 at once. Try to do one or two. Once you have those mastered, do another. If you have to use all your energy on them, you’ll quit.”

Being happy can be pressure in itself. One unexpected element of studying happiness that has emerged is what Heisz calls “happiness backlash. You start measuring everything as ‘Am I happy enough?’”

Which leads to the next point...

Being happy isn’t necessarily a goal to be reached. Instead, it’s a lifelong journey, she says. “For a long time, people were like, ‘When I get my next job, I’ll be happier.’ Or ‘When I find the right person, I’ll be happier.’ Or ‘When I make more money, I’ll be happier.’

“Instead, if they’re happier, they’re more likely to get a promotion, more likely to make more money, more likely to meet the right person. That information is getting out there. Working with happiness is not with happiness as a goal. It’s feeling like we’re living the life we want; that’s kind of the goal.”

So...try to be happy, not only today, but every day!

Have a great happy day!

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