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By definition, Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

The late “Peanuts” creator, cartoonist Charles M. Schultz, used to say that “happiness is a warm puppy”. Whatever the key to personal happiness is, it is different to the individual.

What do the Experts Say?

I was fortunate to see Adrian McInman, an Australian psychologist who focuses on happiness, and the founder of a worldwide program “Happier Horizons” speak on “Achieving More Challenging Goals, Making Better Choices, Improving Your Health, and Increasing Your Level of Happiness”. The first key that he stressed is that you are in control of your happiness. First and foremost, don’t blame other people for your unhappiness.

Happiness starts with the basics.

If you feel better physically and mentally, you will be happier. Dr. McInman believes that you can improve your life by learning how to make and maintain changes that result in noticeable improvements in happiness. Build a basis for happiness by proactively improving the five prongs of NESTS (Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep, Thoughts, Social support). Choosing healthy foods, exercising regularly and getting the proper amounts of sleep, can not only improve your health but give you more energy to accomplish the tasks that you want to complete everyday. Keeping positive thoughts and having social support and stimulation can improve your mood and the mood of everyone else that is around you.

Take time to smell the roses.

Take the time to do the little things that you enjoy everyday. Take a walk, read a book, watch a movie, help your neighbor, etc. Try starting each morning with five minutes of deep breathing and focusing on something good in your life before you start your day.
Set goals to help make changes to improve your life.

First identify something that you can change that will make you happy.

Set a long-term goal and make it measurable. Include a time frame or specific number that you wish to achieve. Make it challenging but not unattainable. Next, announce your intentions to everyone. You are more apt to stick with your goals if you have told someone that you are going to do it. Also make a short-term goal that you can hit first that will motivate you to continue.

So no matter what happiness is to you, a warm puppy, reading a good book, or eating that delicious meal make sure that you take the time to enjoy something.

Retirement living testimonial

“One of the joys of being here is the comfort of being amongst friends.”

- Tom Smedley, Acacia Village Resident

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