We chose to be happy or sad, regardless of what surrounds us. Life is full of good and bad things. Those poor souls who do not realize that they have chosen to be sad will forever overlook many good things, amplify the bad things in life (“Oh woe is me”), and thus accelerate many aging processes and the onset of painful diseases, which make them even sadder, more depressed and a discouraging burden on caregivers and society.
I once knew a good woman, nearly one hundred years old. She suffered from senile dementia and had lost most of her mind. But, the joy inside her from ten decades of choosing to be happy was hardwired into almost every remaining neuron that she had left. Every time someone was near, she automatically smiled and offered her hand in friendship. Almost everyone stopped to give her a warm hug. As I bent down, she always kissed my cheek and whispered, “I love you.” I will continue to love, respect and talk about that wonderful woman forever. She was NOT pitiful – far from it. I never saw her project an image of suffering or pain.
She was truly blessed with a long, happy, productive exemplary life. Even from a wheelchair, she deeply touched us all and left an indelible memory of Joyful Aging. I do think that some of her neurodegenerative disease could have been reduced with what we now know about antiaging, but all things considered. this much-loved woman did far better than most of our modern senior citizens. When I reach one hundred, I want my remaining neurons to only remember being happy and to convey joy to those around me - until my very last breath.
When we chose to be happy, we naturally discover and amplify the good things in life. This releases our own “endorphins,” “enkephalins,” “dynorphins” (internally produced addictive opiates, analgesics, motivators and pain killers) and “oxytocin” (the social glue that bonds individuals together). Our friends and those we love do NOT inject these “happiness chemicals” into us, WE generate and release our own feel-good chemistry as a “self reward,” based on our attitude, personality, expectations, and our own self-fulfilling prophecies.
Health exercise (like rhythmic dancing) injects adrenalin into the mix, which further amplifies the effect of all of the good “cloud nine chemicals” that are racing through our happy, energized cardiovascular and central nervous systems. The habit of happiness makes us even happier. Happy thoughts, happy hearts and happy feet are really very neat!
When people who have chosen to be happy encounter unhappy situations, they take responsibility for doing something to make their life better. In contrast, sad people reject personal responsibility and claim that they are merely the product of a bad environment (bad parents, genes, bad schools, bad politicians, bad bosses, a bad world, etc.). Happiness activates analgesics that block some of our pain, while constant complaining amplifies pain harmfully and unnecessarily.
People who chose to be happy take personally responsibility for learning how to make sad situations better. They are less aware of minor aches and pain, and they often have more effective immune systems. They tend to live longer, happier, more productive lives every day.
Responsible people avoid unnecessarily dangerous situations. They seldom say: “I know I shouldn’t do this, but I’m going to do it anyway.” They eat well, exercise frequently, treat others with respect, interact well in social settings, have good friends, and become exemplary role models for others to imitate. They may cry at a funeral, but they quickly recover from sad situations, move on, and become productive once again.
Responsible individuals pay attention to subtle mechanisms of “cause and effect”, and they learn from the mistakes made by others, avoiding painful “trial and error.” They do take calculated risks and make mistakes when doing something new, but they learn to NOT constantly repeat yesterday’s errors and oversights. They don’t continue to do the things that failed yesterday and foolishly expect things to get better tomorrow. People who chose to become happier tomorrow know that “The thinking which created today’s problems is insufficient to solve them.” (Albert Einstein)
When traditional bad habits aren’t working well, people who chose to become happy search for new lifestyle behaviors until they discover something that works much better. If you get sick when you drink milk, stop drinking milk! If watching depressing television makes you feel sad and lonely, then get up and do something else (before you lose your mind AND your body).
The exciting GOOD NEWS is that Joyful Living can be much happier than lonely vegetative mental-and-physical atrophication in front of violent, negative, commercial television.
(More material to be added soon)