Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Being happy. Such a simple concept. But for many, this concept gets trickier as we get older. We’ve written previously about happiness; it’s a topic that’s always in the news. Below are some more relatively recent happiness-related items that have caught my eye.

Where You Live Is Important for Happiness

happy placeA couple of weeks ago, a Yahoo! News Weekend Edition article came out that focused on the keys to happiness. Based on the findings of researcher, explorer, and author Dan Buettner, one of the most important ingredients for happiness is where you live, and California’s San Luis Obispo was the number one ranked U.S. town in terms of overall emotional health. Here are some of the interesting tidbits from the Yahoo! News article based on Dan Buettner’s work:

1. There are six areas to focus on to to help achieve ultimate happiness:

  • Home
  • Self
  • Financial life
  • Social life
  • Workplace
  • Community

2. “Happy” attributes of San Luis Obispo:

  • Very easy to be sociable – wide sidewalks, open cafes, central meeting place
  • Very easy to walk or bike to work (FYI, one must receive about a 40% pay raise to make up for a 2-hour commute)
  • Almost 1 in 3 residents donate time to non-profits

3. What can be done for many of us city dwellers to change our environment to be happy:

  • Get 7.5 hours of sleep. Less likely to be depressed. Be about 30% happier all day long.
  • Exercise early in the day. Effective exercise gives you a 10 hour happiness boost.
  • Organize happy hour at work. One of the biggest determinants of happiness on the job is whether or not you have a best friend there.
  • One hour of TV per day. Watching TV does bring some happiness, but only for about the first hour. More than one hour, you’re probably not working out enough, socializing enough, or volunteering enough.

A Simple “Be Happy” Video Clip

Recently came across this little happy video clip based on Monica Sheehan’s words and illustrations from her book: Be Happy: A Little Book to Help You Live a Happy Life. I love it for its simplicity, for putting things in perspective for me, and for making me smile.





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8 comments for “Don’t Worry, Be Happy

  1. India
    July 31, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    This is the first time I’ve seen an article which links happiness with location! I knew I wasn’t entirely crazy! I live in Minnesota, where it is very cold for over half of the year. My husband and I have decided to try the retiree/snowbird thing where we leave for at least a month during the winter to a warmer climate. This winter will be our first year, but I am really looking forward to it.

  2. Ali
    June 10, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Andy,

    Excellent article! Happiness is needed for a happy soul. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep is so necessary and not to mention exercising daily. For me, combination of those two make a huge difference.

  3. Rachel Kolyer
    March 17, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    I really enjoy this video, it makes happiness such a basic, simple thing that you can aquire so many different ways, which is so true. It did make me smile, like the author said, and I think it is going to put me in a better mood for the rest of the day. I just feel like smiling, and aweing at the beauty of the world. Andy, I’m glad you’ve discovered the outdoors, I hike once every week for a class, and am going to continue doing so even when the course is over. I feel so healthy and clear and the soreness that it gives me is refreshing! Happiness is so hard to achieve if you think about it as one thing, but if you take into consideration every little wonder of the world, the yellow of the flowers in the spring that hang over the road when I’m driving down Arastradero, even looking out the window as I shower, at the most beautiful pink flowers, heavy on such a fragile tree I want to go outside and take a picture, but I realize I can’t caputure that happiness, but I just have to enjoy it in that brief moment that the world is giving it to me.

    • Andy
      March 29, 2011 at 10:04 am

      Beautifully put, Rachel. You have a great perspective on being happy. Thanks for inspiring me to literally stop and smell the roses every now and then.

  4. Tyler Page
    March 16, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Happiness, is an important thing which can be difficult to find. We put so much focus on getting things done, making sure we get that extra project finished, living by schedules to maximize our efficiency, but happiness is more important than these things. Without happiness, we cannot do work well, be efficient, or focus on what needs to be done. I have often let my happiness slide in exchange for some efficiency, or having extra time to finish work, but in the long run I have realized the toll it has begun to take. I focus on what I don’t want to do instead of doing what I know needs to be done, I might loose sight of the point of the task or my motivation for doing it, and because of this my lack of happiness has begun to affect my work negatively. Since I have tried to take care of myself a little more, and working out is one of those thing that really can change your mood from bad to good. On those days when I feel like I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, so to speak, I morning sprint or trip to the gym can turn my entire day around. I truly feel that you need to find some thing that motivates you to be happy in the morning and that will provide you the happiness you need for the day.

    • Andy
      March 29, 2011 at 10:07 am

      Having that level of self awareness as you do, Tyler, is awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  5. January 6, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Simple, yet complex concept: happiness. I agree that environment affects our happiness. Exercise and being able to get outdoors is one of my personal necessities.

    • January 7, 2011 at 9:57 pm

      Only relatively recently discovered the joys of being outdoors. For example, hiking – great way to clear the head to think clearly about important stuff. 🙂

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