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Monday Morning Acu-Minute by Karen Johnson

Our series on This and That resumes today with a question…can we choose happiness? In some moments, choosing happiness might be an inconceivable idea. Some moments are truly overwhelming. But…in more regular moments…many of us wish we could be happier. I suspect many people view their happiness scale as a fixed part of their personality, instead of realizing that happiness might be a potential, something we can cultivate with conscious attention.

How do we choose happiness on a daily basis?

  1. Meditate. Even 5 minutes a day of simply sitting quietly and watching the breath go in and out has been shown to raise happiness, lower stress and improve immune function. Be patient. The mind is a wily thing and will try to jump in with all sorts of thoughts. Just return to watching the breath.
  2. Find something to look forward to. Studies have shown that even thinking about doing something fun raises endorphin levels and activates pleasure centers in the brain.
  3. Commit conscious acts of kindness. Yes. It has been demonstrated that acts of altruism, giving to friends or strangers, decreases stress and enhances mental health. Want to give it a try? Pick a day and commit to five acts of kindness. Make them conscious and deliberate, no fair looking back and saying, “Oh yeah, well I did that!”

Wishing you much happiness,