Archive for February 28, 2014

Promoting Happiness! Puppies and Other Prescriptions!

Today I attended a continuing education conference entitled “THE HABITS OF HAPPY PEOPLE,” put on by the Institute of Brain Potential.  I would love to share with you the learnings that fascinated me the most.  It is my sincerest wish that after reading today’s blog, you will have more happiness in your life!

1.  At the 1988 Olympics, Swimmer Matt Biondi made a critical error and glided into the pool wall versus doing another stroke in the 100 meter butterfly race.  He was narrowly beaten by Anthony Nesty of Suriname.  Two hours later, he had to race in the 50 meter freestyle.  Sportscasters and fans doubted he could throw off the “agony of defeat” and win the next race.  Not only did Matt Biondi go on to win the 50 meter freestyle, he set a new world record.  Happy people are resilient and do not let setbacks get in the way.  In the words of Psychologist Martin Seligman, who specializes in the research of optimism, “Optimists are people who tell themselves a good story after a defeat.”

2.  I never heard of BRAIN-DERIVED NEUROTROPIC FACTOR until today.  What does BRAIN-DERIVED NEUROTROPIC FACTOR do?  It supports existing neurons and encourages the growth of new neurons and synapes.  This miraculous factor is decreased when we are stressed, which leads to atrophy of the hippocampus, which results in depression.  Is there anything we can do to increase BRAIN-DERIVED NEUROTROPIC FACTOR?  Bring on the intellectual stimulation of the brain and get some physical activity, and you will have more BRAIN-DERIVED NEUROTROPIC FACTOR!

3.  Did you know EVERY study on meditation has shown the practice to have beneficial health effects?  Studies of people suffering from depression, border-line personality disorder, eating disorders, and attention deficit disorder have significant improvements after incorporating meditation into their life, according to our instructor, Dr. Brian King.  Follow the wisdom in this Zen proverb: “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you are busy.  Then you should sit for an hour!”

4.  Curious and curiouser!  The Amish people in this country are among the least materialistic folks in this country, yet as a group, they have very high happiness scores.  Factors in the Amish way of life that contribute to their happiness are: 1.  Their very physically active lifestyle;  2. Their faith which gives them a sense of purpose in this life, and; 3. Their strong social networks…the “Amish Barn Raisings” are emblematic of the concept of helping your neighbor.

5.  Our instructor, Dr. Brian King’s, favorite piece of advice to attain more happiness in your life is this:  “GET A RESCUE PUPPY!”  As the owner of a rescue puppy named, Basia, I could not agree more!  She has brought endless joy to our household!

6.  Laughter is the best medicine, according to the “happiness researchers.”  I told my husband, Adam, that Dr. King advised conference attendees to get a puppy if we wanted to become more happy.  Adam’s quick, witty response was “What?  He did not advise y’all to get a husband to become more happy?!?”

BYE FOR NOW!  In the words from a song, “DON’T WORRY!  BE HAPPY!”