Harvey Mackay: Happiness breeds a successful mind
BY HARVEY MACKAY United Feature Syndicate
Sunday, August 19, 2012
8/19/12 at 4:44 AM
"What makes me happy?" It's a question we all should ask ourselves periodically, since all of our actions should, in some way, be directed toward achieving happiness. Initially, thoughts of riches beyond imagination may fill your mind. Or your thoughts may center on the car/house/job of your dreams. If you are honest, you will probably find it to be a more difficult question than you would expect.
Abraham Lincoln is purported to have once said, "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." Abe knew what he was talking about, and in the final analysis, I think you will find that the only thing that can make you happy is you.
Happiness is just a state of mind. The mind is the most powerful tool in the universe, but you are the one who controls it. Like your car, if you see your mind heading in the wrong direction, you can steer it the other way. You don't want to be dwelling on the situation that brought you to that emotional state.
Of course, it is easier to steer your mental car toward happiness if you have directions. That brings us back to the question, "What makes me happy?" By answering this question, you will be drawing the map. Try an easier question if you are stuck: "What has made me happy in the past?" My guess is that it was not something material.
My definition of happiness is not the fleeting, live-in-the-moment feeling that accompanies a birthday present. Rather, I think of happiness as a way of life. Truly happy people may have difficult times, but they know how to bounce back because they know better times are possible - and probable. They are content to have more positive thoughts than negative ones.
Happiness is a powerful, addictive narcotic. Step into the bliss often enough and you'll carry it with you and seek situations that perpetuate it.
Studies have shown that too much stress can inhibit your immune system, causing many of the health problems that plague our society. Heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcers, migraine headaches and mental illness are just a few of the health issues that have been linked to excessive stress. So in addition to improving the quality of your life, reducing your level of stress and increasing your happiness may also help to save your life.
Researchers at the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine questioned 243 people who were 100 or older. According to a blog for pharmacy technicians at cphtcentral.com, researchers "found that centenarians tend to share certain personality traits (in addition to other factors, like genetics).
In general, these long-lived people are: 1. outgoing, 2. positive-minded about other people, 3. full of laughter, 4. open with their emotions, 5. conscientious and disciplined and 6. unlikely to obsess about anxieties or guilt.
Mackay's Moral: Only you can draw the map of the road to your happiness.
Original Print Headline: Happiness breeds a successful mind
Harvey Mackay is the author of the New York Times best-seller "Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive." To send him a question or comment, go to tulsaworld.com/mackayfeedback.