Almost everybody I know wants to be happy and healthy. As somebody has said, happiness is man’s greatest aim in life. In 2005, a British study showed that happiness and health may overlap. That means we should continue to strive to be happy if we want to be healthy.
How do you define happiness? Happiness can mean different things to different people. And what exactly makes men and women happy? Is it the materialist extreme searching for happiness in external conditions or is it the spiritual extreme claiming that happiness is the result of a mental state? It seems research supports both the materialist and the mentalist positions, later has the stronger findings.
Although human sciences recognize that happiness is the fundamental goal of life, there is a very limited understanding of what happiness itself consists of. With the tremendous technological advance in the western countries people believed that materialism, longevity, healthy life, acquisition of wealth and ownership of consumer goods would lead to happiness. But wealthy people are not necessarily happy or healthy people.
You may wonder why I thought of this subject at this time of the year. During the Christmas holidays I was in Disneyland, California with my family. This was my sixth visit to the Mickey land and third one with my family. And we have been once to Disneyworld in Orlando as well. Call me nuts if you like but I am a big Mickey and Pluto fan and I am very happy when I am in Disneyland with my family. It is the most carefree happy holiday I can have. Plus it is a healthy one as we walk a lot. Three days in Disneyland, one day at Universal Studios and one day in Los Angeles and Hollywood makes it a worthwhile happy trip.
Disneyland is promoted as the happiest place in the world. For me it is. Last time we were there in 1992 and 1993 when my children were six and four years old. Their memory is pretty foggy of what they did in 1993. So they wanted to go there again and have fun and be happy and healthy. My wife and I were ready to oblige. And that is what we did. That is my kind of happiness. Of course there are many other things which make me happy. I can produce a long list of things which make me happy each day.
Amazing thing about Disneyland is that they take their responsibility of making people happy very seriously. We stayed at one of their hotels and we did not have one complain. The service was excellent. In the park itself, there are hundreds or thousands of helpers to guide you and make your day a happy one. The long lines keep moving and you don’t even realize you have been in the line for an hour. The new system of Fastpass works quite well. I am really impressed the way they manage to keep every body smiling and happy all the time. It is amazing. Can we do the same for our family and friends and strangers we meet each day?
While I was having fun and being happy in Disneyland, I am sure there were people all over the world doing other things that made them happy. And that begs the question: What makes happy people happy? You must have noticed that happy people have a different attitude, they interpret the world in a different way and they are not complainers or whiners. Their glass is always half full not half empty. They are not materialistic in nature.
Why is happiness important? Studies have shown that happier people are generally healthier people – not only mentally, but also physically. Happiest people have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Their hearts keep a mellower pace than those of less happy people, and they don’t flip out as much during a mental stress test.
So, the message is simple: If you want to be healthy then be happy, don’t worry and hug Mickey once day!
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