Monday, April 29, 2013

Focus on happiness

Last Friday I blogged about tending relationships. Today I heard about interesting research done by Harvard University's Nicholas Christakis showing that for each "happy friend" you add to your social circle, your happiness grows by 9 percent. And for each "unhappy friend" you add, your happiness declines by 7 percent.

That said, you aren't going to drop from your friendship circle a dear friend who's experiencing depression or grief in her life. You aren't looking just to add friends who are always bubbly and enthusiastic. When you and I live our lives on a deeper level, we're all about being real and being authentic. That means not skipping right over the top of our grief and pain—but facing it and dealing with it appropriately. It also means that happiness is more than just a surface emotion such as TV ads show us with the good life we'll have if we drink Product X as our soda of choice or we buy the right car.

Still, it's worth noting that a focus on happiness and being positive is good for your well-being. It reminds me of the saying, "It's tough to soar like an eagle when you're surrounded by turkeys all day." Yes, it really is! And it's difficult to fly like the beautiful butterfly you are inside when you're crawling on the ground, living in fear of going into that cocoon to allow the transformation that awaits you. Embrace happiness at the deep level of contentment and joy.

What would it take to live in a more positive frame of mind? To be more grateful? To be a happy friend? If you're a happy and positive person, might you draw similar people to you? It's worth thinking about. Try focus on happiness today.

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