Cultivating Happiness for Wellness

The factors and practices that contribute to our happiness are also the same factors that contribute to successful aging. One of the major happiness factors is having the support of friends, family, and social networks. This is why strong social connections are instrumental in creating a harmonious culture of successful aging. Being part of the Acacia Creek community where we have meaningful connections with friends or family eases feelings of loneliness and creates a sense of wellbeing.

Other factors that contribute to happiness include being part of a community that is welcoming to all and full of social opportunities. We see this at Acacia Creek in the way that new residents are welcomed by current residents and are invited to try different programs and social events. We hope that increasing our social connection with the Masonic Home will help us find more people that share our interests.

It is no surprise that living in a scenic area and spending time in nature has been shown to increase happiness levels. Being in nature helps quiet the mind, reduces stress and worry, and improves our mood. This time of year, the campus is beautiful. We are surrounded by the vibrant, green hills and blooming wildflowers. I hope everyone is finding time between the storms to catch some sunlight and fresh air and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. If  you are hesitant to be out and about because of the rain, think positive – the rain is good for us and our environment.

Research also shows a correlation between positive mood, optimism, humor and better health and wellbeing. If happiness and wellbeing are what you are after, it’s important to reduce negative thoughts. With effort, you can navigate through those negative thoughts to find acceptance and happiness. Do this by recognizing when your focus is stuck on your worries, which puts you in a negative loop. To stop the negative loop, recognize that you are stuck and make the decision to shift your thinking. Be kind to yourself and challenge your negative thoughts by examining them and looking for what is true. Sometimes we misinterpret a situation or see things through the lens of past experiences. Nothing good comes from holding on to those negative thoughts. By learning to change those thoughts, we make room for more optimism and happiness.

Happiness is contagious; you can create more happiness and optimism in your life, and find happy people to spend time with. Research shows that having a positive attitude and surrounding yourself with many happy people makes you more likely to become happy in the future. Also, every time you add a happy friend to your social network, it increases your chance of happiness by about nine percent! If you are already a happy optimistic person, share your happiness with a friend. Thank you for contributing to the reserve of happiness and strong social connections in our community!

Penny Vittoria
Successful Aging Coach

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