Life Times Newsletter

November/December 2003
Vol. 5, No.6

Thoughts on living a happy life

According to Mark Twain, happiness is “a Swedish sunset—it is there for all, but most of us look the other way and lose it.”

Research indicates that people with high levels of well-being visit their doctor less often, and those who consider themselves to be highly optimistic live an average of 7.5 years longer than pessimists. Obviously, there is something physiological going on.

Being optimistic can be associated with well-being and impacts the way one deals with stress. How we deal with stress affects our cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems, which all adds up to a greater resilience to disease. If we alter the way we think, we may increase longevity.

“Many people confuse pleasure with happiness,” states Ben Renshaw, co-founder of the Happiness Project, which offers courses and workshops on the subject. “Pleasure is the next pay check, the next holiday, chocolates and wine. You can be a pleasure junkie, always seeking the next fix, but all these experiences come and go.”

Amanda Gore, author and motivational speaker, indicates that happiness involves letting go, forgiving, being optimistic, and feeling as if you are making a contribution. She offers her secrets of happiness:

Elizabeth J. Reinsch, LCSW/ACSW
Human Development Specialist

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University of Missouri Extension Editor: Roxanne T. Miller