We all know we should be as happy as much of the time as possible, but do you know WHY? Here’s 3 BIG convincing reasons & 3 EASY ways to get happy…
1. Happiness affects the rest of what you do.
Think productivity, energy and efficiency. If there is something you are dreading (for example paying your bills or cleaning out an overstuffed closet) think of how excited you are to do it. Think of how exciting anything else might be in comparison, and it’s easy to see where procrastination comes from. If there is something you are happy about doing like going on vacation, notice that even though it takes work and planning time, you WANT to do it, because the outcome is going to be fun.
Any given situation has a mindset that gets locked in, almost instantaneously. Something “good” has “good” thoughts that magnetize towards it. And same with a perceived “bad” situation. You can choose to change up your thoughts, in each moment, to see what all you can think of that’s good during the harder parts of life. Maybe being diagnosed with something doesn’t seem like fun, but if you think of the positive lifestyle choices that you can make to help deal with the “problem,” and know that the results will change things for the better…what a great way to change things up!
2. Happiness affects your body chemistry.
This one’s easy, especially when we look at the detriment that stress has on our bodies. Stress overtaxes our adrenal function, heart, blood circulation, digestion, brain waves and even creates wrinkles! With all that, why not get happy to have better functioning organs and body systems? Endorphins reduce stress, improve the immune system and help heal the body. Happiness is even a pain reducer. The famous case of Norman Cousins using humor to get off of the pain meds and heal the condition that his doctors diagnosed, is one of the many examples of this.
3. Happiness is contagious.
Luckily the vagus nerve* isn’t just for sharing tears and yawns when others do. When someone smiles at you, your own system is triggered, and joy can quietly erupt. When you see a giggling baby, or almost anyone engaged in a hearty laugh, it’s really hard not to smile and also start laughing. That’s a good thing. Think of how many boring company meetings get livened up when humor is used, or something really silly happens. It’s definitely more memorable and we also bond positively in the process. Positive associations are things we generally WANT to gravitate to.
So how can you get happy in more moments of your precious lifetime?
1. Laugh. Giggle. Smile.
It could be with others, reading something funny, or watching YouTube videos. Try what I call “Microwave Minutes.” For the time your food is in a microwave (or heating something on the stove, or waiting in line, etc.), just start laughing. It may be weird at first, but with practice, it will come easier and you will find more and more little opportunity moments to consciously smile and laugh. Bonus points if you try the laughter minute exercise in an elevator, with others!
2. Try Laughter Yoga.
It’s more about the breathing state and not about telling jokes. There are Laughter Yoga variations for all kinds of people, from kids to elderly; businesses to prisons. It’s a combination of the “Four Elements of Joy”: singing, dancing, playing and laughing. Exercises that encourage movement, interaction with others and joy, are prevalent in Laughter Yoga. And more breathing equals more oxygen. Oxygenation to the body’s cells is a huge healthy benefit of deep laughter (which requires big breathing from the diaphragm–easily done with big belly laughing). FYI: disease cannot live in well oxygenated cells.
3. Surround yourself with the positive.
Seek out positive stories, information, people (and unconditionally loving pets). If you have friends who are a joy to be around, you naturally want to spend more time with them (especially over constant “crisis mode” doom people). Conversely, you can BE that person others like to hang out with. More bringing up the “good” stuff in life, or seeing the positive points in any situation, will help you do this for yourself too, so you don’t always have to rely on others.
Whatever works for you to get happy, try it. Even one great session of prolonged laughter could melt away stress and reduce damaging hormones like excessive cortisol. The other happiness upsides: it can be totally free and no fancy equipment is needed. People may just think you got plastic surgery from all that smiling, especially if a positive attitude and brighter life outlook ensues!
*Check out the movie “Happy” on more info on the positive effects of happiness and the vagus nerve response.
~Ché Rippinger runs Hip The Hoopla, teaching humorous hoop dance with Laughter Yoga, dance-adapted yoga and belly dance. She’s taught, trained, and choreographed in a variety of dance styles for well over 20 years. She teaches group classes, private instruction, consults, performs and also creates custom professional hoops. She is available for consultation on hooping, healing and happiness improvement with positivity, encouragement (and a little butt-kicking) to help you live your happiest and healthiest life. Please visit www.HipTheHoopla.com to register for class and get further info on all Hip The Hoopla has to offer! Great “Hoopspiration,” videos and information is also available at www.facebook.com/HipTheHoopla (please “like”), and via e-mail Che@HipTheHoopla.com and phone 303-980-6295.