Les Patterson??Ÿ?¦Ÿ??s Monday Morning Boost: The science of happiness

Pull out a beaker and pour in a little Serotonin (C10H12N2O) to ease away tension.  Then mix in some Dopamine (C6H3(OH)2-CH2-CH2-NH2) and Norepinephrine (C8H11NO3) to help think and act more quickly.  Combine the three together and voilà!  Happiness abounds!

Who knew there was a science to this thing we call happiness???  What happened to just being able to be happy because we wanted to be happy?  Before we get caught up trying to figure out the science – and before my chemical engineer brother-in-law George cringes too much at my over-simplification – I would like to explore a little of what some call “the science of happiness.”
“Life in the human body is designed to be a blissful experience,” states Christopher Bergland, author of the blog The Athlete’s Way: Sweat and the Biology of Bliss published in Psychology Today.  “Through daily physicality and other lifestyle choices,” he professes, “we have the power to make ourselves happier.” 
In his article, The Neurochemicals of Happiness – 7 brain molecules that make you feel great, Bergland espouses “simple lifestyle choices and changes in behavior can improve your brain chemistry, make you feel better and motivate you to maximize your human potential.”  Read his article for a wonderful and simple understanding of the impact simple choices can have in your life.
Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, in a 2004 TED Talk summarized in a Huffington Post article The Habits of Supremely Happy People, describes three specific types of happy lives:
The Pleasant Life, in which you fill your life with as many pleasures as you can…
The Life of Engagement, where you find a life in your work, parenting, love and leisure…
“The Meaningful Life, which "consists of knowing what your highest strengths are, and using them to belong to and in the service of something larger than you are.”
The Huffington Post reports, “After exploring what accounts for ultimate satisfaction… the pursuit of pleasure… has hardly any contribution to a lasting fulfillment. Instead, pleasure is ‘the whipped cream and the cherry’ that adds a certain sweetness to satisfactory lives founded by the simultaneous pursuit of meaning and engagement.”
Seligman believes “happy people have habits you can introduce into your everyday life that may add to the bigger picture of bliss. Joyful folk have certain inclinations that add to their pursuit of meaning — and motivate them along the way.”  Here is Seligman’s list of 21 habits of supremely happy people:

  • They surround themselves with other happy people.
  • They smile when they mean it.
  • They cultivate resilience.
  • They try to be happy.
  • They are mindful of the good.
  • They appreciate simple pleasures.
  • They devote some of their time to giving.
  • They let themselves lose track of time. (And sometimes they can’t help it.)
  • They nix the small talk for deeper conversation.
  • They spend money on other people.
  • They make a point to listen.
  • They uphold in-person connections.
  • They look on the bright side.
  • They value a good mixtape.
  • They unplug.
  • They get spiritual.
  • They make exercise a priority.
  • They go outside.
  • They spend some time on the pillow.
  • They laugh out loud.
  • They walk the walk.

Have a great Monday.  Thanks for letting me share!

Les Patterson
p.s. Take 15 minutes today to implement in your life one, two or maybe three habits of supremely happy people.



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