“Most folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be” Abraham Lincoln
Happiness is often talked about as a cute catchphrase not a topic for serious scientists. However, the research is growing in this arena. There is actually a Center for Health and Happiness at Harvard University! We are beginning to look at what makes humans happy. In addition to happiness, psychological well-being includes optimism, a sense of satisfaction, emotional well-being and a sense of purpose.
Scientific Evidence Suggest Link between Happiness and Health
Scientific evidence suggests that there is a link between happiness and health that goes both ways. Well-controlled studies conducted in large populations indicate that people who are more optimistic and/or have a greater sense of purpose have at least a 20% reduced risk of developing major illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.
One of the keys to a happy life is living in the present moment. Spending too much time in the past or future thinking can be detrimental to one’s happiness.
According to a study of 5,000 people by psychologists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert at Harvard University, adults spend only 50% of their time in the present moment. They found that when we are in the present moment, we are at our happiest, no matter what we are doing.
It may not be easy at first, but like working a muscle, you can strengthen your ability to stay present by trying this exercise.
Focus on your Breath
An age-old and effective practice for bringing your mind back into the present is to focus on your breath. When you find your mind wandering, take in a deep breath. As you breathe out, let go of your thoughts and bring your attention back into the present moment.
Another breathing exercise, not sexy but tried and true. Count your breath. Inhale and exhale to a count of 10 and then start over. This increases our ability to pay attention and be present.
Wishing you all a Happy Day!