Embrace Joy Chapter 16

Follow Your Bliss

“Go forth and be joyful” may seem like overly simple advice. But those who study happiness say that being aware of its importance, and making a conscious commitment to spend more time on the relationships and activities that give you joy, is more than half the equation. Some joyful experiences will be spontaneous. Others may take more thought and effort. Make the effort. Your life will be happier and – perhaps – longer.


Get Moving

Exercise relieves stress by helping to rebalance your levels of serotonin, a calming hormone. It also spurs the release of endorphins, compounds that make you feel good by reducing your perception of pain. If you think you might like yoga, find an introductory class and try it out. The mind-body approach of most popular types of yoga is a way to feel better physically, focus and relax.


Make a New Friend

And if possible, find friends who are already happy! Two researchers from Harvard University examined friendships among participants in the giant Framingham Heart Study, which has been tracking the health of thousands of people in Massachusetts for decades. The research team recreated the family and social networks of 4,739 of the participants and reviewed the measurements of their happiness, which had been recorded from 1983 to 2003. READ MORE

The data indicated that having a happy friend increased an individual's chances of being happy by 15%. The subjects who had more friends were also rated higher on the happiness scale, but those whose friends were happy saw a much bigger increase in their chances of being happy, too. LESS


Volunteer, Join a Club, Make a Difference

It is a good way to make connections with new people, and to experience the joy of helping others at the same time. If you feel shy or have trouble joining new groups, ask a friend or your partner to volunteer with you. Then commit to staying for a certain amount of time, even if you are uncomfortable at first. As you gain more confidence about being part of the group, you may find it easier to forge new relationships there. In many experiments, shy people who feign high self-esteem begin to feel better about themselves. One study that manipulated people into smiling found that they actually felt happier after fake smiling for awhile. Try that, too!

theVisualMD Wishes to Thank our Scientific Collaborators:

The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.