If You’re Happy and You Know It

I was out having dinner with my friend, Norman, and he couldn’t help but notice the uplifted countenance of our server. Unable to help himself, he asked, “Why are you so happy?”

If you're happy and you know it

Somewhat surprised the he’d even notice, the server smiled and told us about her painting she had entered in the State Fair and that she’d just received a text on her phone that she’d won first place in her division.

Her exuberance was apparent. I remembered a song we used to sing with the kids that went like, “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands…” No hand clapping was needed here. You could tell she was happy.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but you can pretty much tell when anyone is really happy, even if they’re trying to conceal it, you can just tell.

So what makes people happy?

Good News

Good news, like hearing that you’ve just won an award for your artwork, would certainly make you happy, Even if you were depressed moments before, good news can fire up you happiness hormones and usher you into joy in a heartbeat.

Ever know someone who was happy all the time?

I know it’s harder to come by these days, but most everyone knows someone who is disgustingly perpetually happy. You probably think to yourself, “No one could really be that happy,” assuming that they must be faking it, have something to hide or are full of crap; all reasonable thoughts for a person who finds it difficult to maintain a high level of joy for very long.

Now, ask one of these annoying happy people the same question, “Why are you so happy?”

They’re likely to go on and on about how the whole world is comprised of beauty, kindness, benevolence and goodness… enough to make you think that either they’ve taken some amazing illicit hallucinogen or simply lost any sense of reality and their mind to boot.

They are also likely to be thinking about all the good things in life they are anticipating, as well as what they are doing to move themselves closer to the things they truly desire for themselves or their loved ones. How could they not be happy, thinking thoughts, like those?

You might walk away, shaking your head, thinking this person might be better off suited for a straight jacket.

Nonetheless, they aren’t hurting anyone – if anything, just the opposite – their positive and outlook directed at the right person at the right time might just save a life, or in some small way make the world a better place. The cumulative effect of happy people, like these, can have enormous impact on the planet and its peoples.

Yes, you think, but what about all the pain, violence, poverty, injustice, etc…?

The people who are happy likely know about and acknowledge all the evils of the world but choose to focus instead on all the good things of the world. For every bad thought you could think, there is a good one that you could choose to spend your time dwelling on instead.

One thing for certain: Bad thoughts make you feel bad and good thoughts make you feel good.

So, when it comes down to it, happiness is a choice.

And if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.

Happiness How to be Happy

The most important component for enjoying a fun-filled life full of happiness and joy is just like magic or anything else: It’s easy once you know the secret of the happiness hormone. Once you have this knowledge, the question is

Happiness how to be happyWhat will you do about it?

Hidden within our molecular structure is a hormone that when released into our bloodstream allows us to experience happiness and joy. The hormone has been identified and named, “oxytocin.” There is no pill or supplement that you can take to replace the hormone or trigger its production.

Oxytocin is created naturally during moments of great feelings of love, falling in love and loving orgasm. We experience the greatest happiness when oxytocin levels are at their highest levels. This is why oxytocin is referred to as, “the love hormone.”

The higher your level of oxytocin, the happier you are; you feel better, experience less cardiovascular stress, enjoy increased immune system and a longer lifespan with a higher quality of life.

How to Be Happy

Fortunately, there are things that you can do to ramp up your oxytocin levels to increase happiness and joy (besides the obvious: falling in love, engaging in love-filled sex or having a newborn baby).

Only you have the ability to pull the trigger, releasing the happiness hormone, but you must take action to do so.

Here are some things you can do to increase your oxytocin levels post haste:

Watch a movie

There are two types of films you could watch that will trigger the release of oxytocin. They are movies that make you laugh out loud, or cry tears of joy or sadness.

Social media

Yes, engaging and interacting with other people in a positive manner (haters are excluded because “haters gonna hate” indicates increased testosterone – not oxytocin) via social media, like facebook, Twitter, etc… increases the happiness hormone.

Donate

Making a contribution or donation, expecting nothing in return, is an excellent way to release the happiness hormone.

Pray

If you’re open to prayer/meditation, the idea of interacting with your higher source or self (feel free to call it whatever you want. I am quite comfortable with the idea of praying to God, but to each their own…) this will release oxytocin.

Pet an Animal

If you’re so inclined, petting a cute, adorable animal (who is amiable to the idea and not a ferocious man-eating critter) will get those happiness juices flowing.

Nature Walk

Taking a stroll through natural surroundings, especially on a sunny day, when you can appreciate trees, grass, flowers or a natural body of water or shoreline will do the trick.

Get a Massage

A little trip to the massage therapist for your choice of either a sports or relaxation massage (or a spa day) will do the trick.

Increase Happiness Hormone X2

You can achieve twice the amount of oxytocin release by engaging in activities with another person (also, in most cases, the other person gets similar benefits). This elevated type of happiness is more related to joy. Consider:

Full-on Listening

Talk to someone – or more importantly invite them to talk and share – focusing totally on the speaker and their delivery. Look into their eyes, watch their mouth, note their voice inflection, posture and be aware of their body language. (And for god’s sake, turn your cell phone off.)

Do a Meal

Either take someone out to share a meal – your treat – or make someone a special dinner to share with him or her.

Dance

Getting out on the dance floor with someone to bust a move is a great way to increase your happiness levels. (And don’t worry; it’s more about the wiggling to the music than it is your proficiency at dancing. No judges here.)

Have a Thrill

Do something that you’ve never done before – especially if it has a little danger thrown in for flavor – like a roller coaster ride or skydiving.

Be Trusted

The feeling that comes with being trusted by another person (not trusting someone else) releases the happiness hormone. Being trustworthy, helps stack the deck in your favor.

Say, “I love you.”

Every time you communicate your admiration for another person, using the words, “I love you,” works just like an injection of oxytocin.

Hugging

Doctor’s orders a daily prescription of 8 hugs per day to keep your hug quotient at its optimal levels.

Happy Happiness

Enjoy these little activities that can give you a happy life.

May each day be your happiest day ever.