Lately, I’ve really been enjoying the podcast, The Happiness Lab. It’s hosted by Yale University professor, Dr. Laurie Santos, whose class about happiness quickly became Yale’s most popular class in the university’s history. Listening to the podcast has helped me realize that happiness is as much a paradigm as it is an emotion. If you choose to view the world through eyes searching for the bright spots that bring you joy, you will find them. But the reverse is also true. She interviews people who have suffered traumatic life-changing events that the average person would take as a kick to the gut and sit on the sidelines of life for a while before getting back up to play. Incredulously, they have made the choice to be happy instead. It’s a great reminder that despite any adversity, there is always the capacity to see the good in life and spread happiness.
Happiness is also dependent on the connections you make with others. It doesn’t matter if they are strangers or you have known them your whole life, so don’t forget to smile and make small talk with people you encounter on a daily basis. It will likely improve your outlook and mood and will have a ripple effect on those you meet! Let’s choose to practice happiness and loving kindness in this world that has become increasingly isolating thanks to electronics, social media, and the tendency to group people into “us” vs “them” categories.