Smile! Don't Worry, Be Happy
The power of positivity is real-and you can have it
WE ALL KNOW PEOPLE like them. They grin from
ear to ear. They spout well-wishes as if they're going out of
style. They're... happy.
And it's infuriating.
As if optimists' perpetual positivity isn't enough, get this:
Happy people also tend to be healthier, have better relationships
and make more money than the rest of us, says Marci Shimo, author
of Happy for No Reason.
And it's no wonder, she says. After all, "just five minutes of
anger or negativity can suppress the immune system for six hours,"
Shimo says, "whereas five minutes of love or positivity can have
the opposite effect."
Is there any hope for people who aren't naturally optimistic?
Yes, Shimo says. "Happiness is only 50 percent genetic. The other
50 percent is learned." That means that even Negative Nellys can
train themselves to be happier.
Evaluate the company you keep. Emotions are
contagious. So if you surround yourself with naysayers, you're more
likely to be one yourself, Shimo says. Instead, make friends with
Open your eyes to optimism. Always be on the
lookout for things that go right. Every day, ask yourself what you
Savor compliments. The next time your boss
tells you "job well done," don't brush it off. Dwell on it and let
it sink in.
Use the 3:1 ratio. Don't aim to ignore all
negatives. Instead, counter each negative thought by thinking three
Get regular massage. "It's one of the best
preventive medicines for unhappiness," Shimo says. "It stimulates
the flow of [feel-good hormone] oxytocin and helps relax the body
and clear the mind."
- By Shelley Flannery