I have this friend who is always happy. Even when he is unhappy, he is happy. He is always smiling. Always laughing. Always in a good mood. Always fun to be around. It could be really annoying if it were not so darn infectious.
Even though some people have a more natural propensity towards happiness, to be happy is also a choice. Sure, my friend is a naturally happy person, but he also chooses to see the full half of the glass, so to speak.
“Don’t worry, be happy.” It sounds so simple doesn’t it? Yet sometimes, depending on what life has in store for us, to stop worrying and be happy is so much easier said than done.
I have written quite a bit on the subject of happiness and depression, as well as the notion of being in the moment with mindfulness. And I have become a huge believer in the mind-body connection, that our thoughts and emotions can impact our health both positively and negatively.
Here is yet another reason to make an effort to continue to choose happiness. If you can’t do it for now, do it for your older self, because having a positive outlook and enjoying life plays a role in our future. Research has found that people who enjoy their lives and have a positive outlook have better physical function later in life. (Which means that my happy friend will probably be lapping all of us.) The study was done over a period of several years to determine whether there is a connection between personal outlook on life and physical ability. The results showed that happier people show significantly slower declines in physical ability as they get older.
Of course, you can’t decide that you are just going to be happy, happy, happy, and ignore the rest of the health components like healthy eating and regular exercise, but it sure can be helpful. So how about we all make a deal to at least try to stop worrying and be happy? Our older selves will thank us.