“Happy, Happy, Happy…”

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“If you want to be happy, be.”          –Leo Tolstoy-

I am just finishing a wonderful book by Sonja Lyubomirsky called The How of Happiness.

I always find it amazing when I am reading or thinking about a certain subject,  I tend to get bombarded with examples in my day-to-day life that just scream at me “you just can’t make this stuff up!”

In order to stay in line with many of my fellow bloggers and tweeters,  I find the need to reference some of the Super Bowl commercials that I saw on Sunday.  The three that really stuck in my mind (other than the almost made me gag one of the model and the curly haired dude…), were the Coca-Cola “Open Happiness”,  the Volkswagen “Get Happy” and the Taco Bell commercial with all the retirement home folks partying like there was no tomorrow!

Being a Minnesotan,  I could not help but smile when the guy in the VW commercial was asked “aren’t you from Minnesota?” and he answers in his Jamaican accent “yah, da land of ten-tousand lakes”.  For those of you who have not been to our great state,  the closer you go “up nort” toward “dat der” Canadian border, the more you hear people talking exactly like that (minus the Jamaican accent of course). I love it when a commercial comes on that is funny or heart-warming…how many of you got choked up listening to the Paul Harvey commercial “So God Made a Farmer”?

Happiness…sure feels good doesn’t it?

Did you know that the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) states that 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 12 take anti-depressants?  I just pulled up another statistic from John Hopkins: they issued a medicine alert in May 2011 stating that “approximately 18.8 million Americans suffer from depression”.

Wow, those are some sobering (or shall I say depressing) statistics…

Dr. Lyubomirsky’s book outlines some simple ways to increase our happiness, which some research has shown to positively impact symptoms of depression.  Here are some examples:

  • Start using a Gratitude Journal.
  • Increase time spent with other people (social connections).
  • Use our senses to fully embrace the small things that we take for granted: seeing freshly fallen snow glistening on a tree’s branches, hearing the drum or cymbal in the background of a song, or smelling fresh baked bread as it comes out of the oven.
  • Stop comparing yourself to the “Jones”.
  • Act happy even when it feels fake.  Studies have shown that actually forcing oneself to smile can increase feelings of happiness.
  • Exercise: a little or a lot – whatever works for you.

As I mentioned in a post about a week ago,  a friend of ours died unexpectedly – a young guy in his early 40’s.  At the funeral,  the minister talked about Todd’s ring-tone on his cell phone from the show Duck Dynasty.  When the phone rang, what everyone heard was “Happy, Happy, Happy”…

So I have been bombarded with happy thoughts even during a time of extreme sadness and as my friends Ole and Lena would say: “ya yest can’t make dis stuff up, dontcha know”!

 “Committed engagement to happiness activities can lift a person out of the rut” 

-Sonja Lyubomirsky-

What are some of your simple “feel good” activities?

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