The Muse

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

On the Road to Happiness

From a Calvin and Hobbs Collection by Bill Watterson, "The Days Are Just Packed"

"I’ve been thinking of the question you posed on your blog, “What Makes You Happy?”.  It is an interesting thought because for a long time when people asked me what I wanted I would reply that I just wanted to be happy.  When I thought about it, it felt like happiness was kind of a fleeting thing so I decided that I just wanted to feel at peace.  That felt good for a while and recently I moved into the idea that I think we all just want to be loved.  I think I will be hanging out there for a long time.  I can’t think of what could be better than that."--Sue
Dear Readers,

As you can see, I am back on this blog, thank you for the visit. I'm grateful, too, that you have been thinking, and responding.  I've been blogging other places as well so I feel well blogged. This site, however, is my first love, so let's get going here...

For the last three installments I have asked the question, "What makes You Happy?" and realized that we have been seduced into believing that we ought to be happy. But, we might ask, what is happiness?  I like Abraham's take on it, that it is our natural right to live in JOY.  Joy/Happiness are they any different? It seems to me that JOY is that thrill we feel at sunrises and sunsets, at good music, and good wine,  joyful friends, good conversation, a loving relationship, a spiritual understanding, a run in the park with our dog, hiking in the wilderness, skiing, horseback riding, awe, ecstasy, achievable goals, a purpose, a dream, a few good challenges.  All that adds up to happiness. But being happy all the time. That is too great an expectation.

However, here is further input:

On The Road to Happiness: Don’t Worry, Stress Can be Good for You
We have all heard that stress is bad for our health. Well, it can be. According to Kelly McGonigal a Stanford psychologist, her eight years study of the high stress group showed that at the end of eight years 43% died.

But, and this is the key point: Only those who BELIEVED that stress was harmful to their health.

The high-stress subjects who didn’t believe stress was harmful had the lowest risk of dying of all the subjects.

Here is how it works. When you’re stressed, your heart pounds. Your breathing increases. You might even break into a sweat. Typically, we look at these responses as signs of anxiety.

Instead, Dr. McGonigal suggests you look at the typical stress responses as signs that your body is being energized. The pounding heart is preparing you for action. Faster breathing increases oxygen to your brain. Your body is preparing for the challenge ahead.

From a health standpoint, when you view stress as a health risk, your blood vessels constrict. It’s this constriction of blood vessels that can lead to heart disease. But when you take a positive perspective on stress, your blood vessels don’t constrict. They stay open.

Live long, stay healthy, prosper,

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