On Happiness

OK… So, what’s not good about being happy?

As members of a robust community like ours, you are undoubtedly aware of how wonderful it is to partake in the environment, great neighbors and amenities in the Denver area. You know the collective joy you experience when you greet your friends and engage with others in active endeavors. But, is there a way for us to define these good feelings?

Finding the Zone

Dan Buettner, the author of The Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons from the World’s Happiest People, writes that happiness can actually be measured - both objectively and subjectively. As he researched the knowledge base created by experts who had quantified happiness, he was able to condense their ideas into twelve life characteristics that are common to the world’s happiest people. He tells us these happy folks:

1. Live with a loving partner

2. Spend 30 minutes of quality time with their kids at least five times a week

3. Own a dog

4. Spend less than one hour watching TV or playing video games per day

5. Have people in their lives whom they can confide in after a difficult day

6. Eat at least six servings of fruits or vegetables daily

7. Meditate at least once a week

8. Visit the doctor and dentist at least once per year

9. Have a home with good natural light

10. Live near nature, whether it’s a park close by, houseplants or a fish tank inside, or a window through which they can clearly see outside.

11. Can articulate their sense of purpose or life mission

12. Care for loved ones, such as sick children or aging parents.

Joy as a Process

As you may have suspected, finding happiness is an incredibly important part of your journey. When you’re happy, you’re most likely in the place that is best for you, with the people that are best for you, and doing the things that are best for you. All you have to do is choose to do them. Of course, you may not be able to accomplish every item on the list, but as you make decisions about how you’re going to live, your happiness has the potential to improve - one step at a time.

Making Joy a Habit

Since most things don't happen overnight, this does require a little patience and perseverance. Experiencing happiness is a lifelong process - you must not only choose to do it but practice it - every day. It requires consistent effort and intention as you change for the better. Moving forward, you will discover that attitude truly does matter. And, looking back, you’ll discover that living a joyful life was always up to you.

So… you’ve got the list, and it’s never too late to start. Try to implement these items in ways that matter to you and make amazing choices today and every day. If you’d like to measure your happiness quotient, come on down to the clinic, and we will run you through the questionnaire and then see if we can help you be the happiest person you can be.

Be well and take good care.

Buettner, Dan. The Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons from the World's Happiest People (p. 42). National Geographic Society. Kindle Edition.