Where Your Happy-Hess Comes From

I don’t care who you are… you know you smiled when you saw this pic.

And… if you wondered how a dog could take a selfie, then you really need to put down the electronics that are eating your life, and get your butt outdoors.

I came by this article at Outdoor Magazine and I must admit it made me realize just how terribly far I have to go to attain my own “true” happiness. But there is plenty of encouragement spread throughout the article, and it should be pretty easy for even the most lazy among us to go about spicing things up in our outdoor lives. Consider this passage:

Looking for drivers of well-being, the researchers zeroed in on a gene that aids in the transport of the neurotransmitter serotonin. In the biochemistry of mood, serotonin plays a role much like the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz, bringing brightness and cheer, and regulates stress levels, sleep, and pain, among other things. The study found that those who’d inherited longer variations of -the gene had a slight increase in overall happiness, but surveys of the twins suggested that genes get only a minority vote when it comes to mood.

Other research indicates that how happy you are can influence the ways your genes are expressed. In a 2013 study, researchers at UCLA and the University of North Carolina reported that happiness levels have powerful effects on genes and our health. But there was a catch: the specific kind of happiness mattered a lot. The unselfishly happy, whose feelings of well-being involved a deep sense of purpose in life, had a strong expression of antiviral and antibody genes.

Happy hedonists, meanwhile, wrapped up in materialistic pleasures, had weaker immune systems, resulting in inflammation that can lead to cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. “Even pleasures that seem virtuous, like looking at a sunset, can be hedonic, because they involve one’s own emotional gratification,” explains UCLA professor of medicine Steven Cole, the senior author of the study. “The real distinction is whether your happiness is tied into purpose and meaning outside yourself.”

Bottom line: like so many things, how happy you are comes down to how you choose to live your life.

And that ‘bottom line’ can’t be overstated… it really does come down to how you choose to live your life.

There are 14 suggestions on how you can take control of your own happiness, and strive in your life for more of it:

Rise with the Sun
Get Dirty
Make Every Day Saturday
Crank the Tunes
Drink Up
Hit the Beach
Play More
Go Screenless
Give Your Time
Train with a Team
Get High on Chocolate
Eat Happy Meals
Raise a Glass
Keep Animal Friends Close

Go now…straight away…and read the article in its entirety. Then…?

Go.
See.
Do.

[creds: Snoopy & Charlie Brown image via morelolz.com; Dog Selfie (and article itself) via Outside Online] [This entry is a retread tires from my old website… Back in 2013. Some things never get old. ~G.M.C.]

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