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Happy people have good reason to smile- Fall Innovation Forum explores links between happiness, health, creativity

Written by Contributor. Posted in Featured, Health & Wellness

Published on November 14, 2018 with No Comments

by Steve Euvino

There’s a reason happy people are smiling. According to researchers:

• Happy people earn higher salaries and are more productive and effective in their work.

• Happy people enjoy deeper interpersonal relationships.

• People who are happy are more likely to volunteer, help others, and donate to charity.

• Happy people experience many health benefits that affect their cardiovascular and immune systems, reduce stress, and lower the risk of memory loss.

So, if happiness is such a positive, then why isn’t everyone happy and what can people do to find that elusive butterfly of joy?

The Fall Innovation Forum sponsored by the Center for Creative Solutions, Inc. provided happiness strategies for educators and other professionals Oct. 30 in Michigan City. A non-profit organization, the center’s mission is to “help people discover creative solutions in their personal, professional, business, organizational, and community challenges.”

Cindy Hedge, co-founder and CEO of the center, and Keri Marrs Barrón, a consultant and trainer with the center, co-facilitated the Tuesday afternoon session.

“Each of us has a different definition of happiness,” said Hedge, noting that happiness falls into one of two camps: overall happiness and happiness on a day-to-day basis.

When asked their concept of happiness, participants cited family, work, and programs such as the forum.

Citing scientific studies, Hedge said half of happiness comes from DNA. “Some of us as pre-disposed to be happy and some are pre-disposed to be unhappy,” Hedge said, adding that fact does not “doom” someone to a perpetual state of glee or sadness.

“Happiness is something that every day we have to practice,” Hedge said. “Happiness is not a destination, but an everyday journey.”

Another 10 percent of happiness comes as a result of circumstances, and the remaining 40 percent comes from within the individual – one’s values, attitudes, behavior, and worldview – and as such can be changed.

Hedge and Barrón focused on means to impact that 40 percent. Companies such has Amazon and Apple are also devoting efforts to make their employees happier and hopefully more creative and innovative. Those corporate efforts, Barron said, include adding more windows in office buildings to allowing workers more time outside.

Hedge and Barron offered eight strategies cited by science to improve happiness and, as a result, creativity and improved health.

• Build a social network.This involves developing one-on-one relationships. Social media have not helped in this area, the two women said, as outlets such as Facebook lead to self-comparison, through which a person will never be the best.

• Be grateful.Gratitude, the co-facilitators said, breeds teamwork and collaboration.

• Work in flow.Do something you really enjoy doing. Do it with passion.

• Be kind to yourself.

• Know it’s good to be good.Each person has an innate desire to give, Hedge and Barron said.

• Be optimistic.Optimism is a perspective through which people can see good coming from adversity.

• Meditate.Be mindful.

• Enjoy healthy habits.These include nutrition, sleep, and exercise. Seventy percent of Americans, Hedge said, are sleep-deprived.

When asked their personal strategies for happiness, audience members cited having pets, taking a break from what bothers them, writing down at the start of the day 10 things for which they are grateful, church, grandchildren, and recognizing and avoiding the “crazy-makers” in their lives.

The co-facilitators encouraged journaling to keep tabs on their hopes and dreams and efforts for happiness. While friends, taking on too much, and electronic devices are among detractors to dreams, self-awareness, connecting with nature, and accountability can help dreams come true.

“Dream big,” Barrón counseled. “You have the ability to imagine as possible your dreams and hopes.”

For more information on the Center for Creative Solutions, Inc., visit www.CenterforCreativeSolutions.comor call 219-861-0955. The center is located at 410 Franklin Square in Michigan City.

Action plan for happiness, health, creativity

Here are suggestions on making yourself happier, healthier, and more creative:

• Meet someone new today and connect with him/her.

• Practice gratitude.

• Pursue flow. Do something you love and get lost in the activity.

• Keep $20 in an envelope to give away. Buy someone a coffee or lunch or donate the money to charity. Know that it’s good to be good.

• Today, try to see the good that might come from the day’s adversity and focus on what you can control, not on what you can’t.

• Ask someone or many people to write a list or statement about all your positive qualities. Reflect on those qualities when you need a spirit boost. Be kind to yourself.

• Each day for at least 15 minutes, take a walk (or enjoy another activity) outdoors. Breathe deeply, observe your surroundings, and listen. Enjoy nature and be mindful.

• Focus on your health – move, eat well, and sleep. Refresh your body and soul.

Source: Center for Creative Solutions, Inc.

 

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