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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

Letter from the Publisher

I love the saying “Happiness is an inside job.” It means only I can create happiness in my life. It’s my definition of happy; it’s my rules on how to get there. But what if you’re feeling stuck? What if your happy up and flew out the window? Well then, it’s time to turn back inside and create that feeling once again.

Let your intuition help guide you. Deep down inside, you probably know what makes you happy. Take a minute to list the things that light you up, and see what items you can do now. It can be as simple as listening to your favorite music and singing along at the top of your lungs or dancing like no one is watching. Action often makes us feel more energized and upbeat, but quite-time activities—like snuggling up with your fur babies, being in nature or meditating—can also be uplifting.

This month is our Boost Happiness and Well-Being issue, and our feature article, “Think Yourself Happy,” offers seven ways to do just that, along with a sidebar that includes research on well-being basics such as diet, exercise, sleep, loving relationships and nature.

Thanks to two decades of research in positive psychology, we now know more precisely how to attain and sustain happiness—and it’s clear that when we change our thinking and act repeatedly in positive ways, our brains rewire themselves and happiness settles into our daily life. Study-proven strategies include aiming for a three-to-one ratio of positive to negative experiences and reframing them; invoking self-compassion; questioning painful assumptions; deepening gratitude; and practicing meditation, prayer and mindfulness.

We also have an article on the physiology of smiling, titled “Smiling Can Make Us Happier.” When we are happy, we naturally smile, and smiling itself, even if it masks a grumpy mood, can induce happiness. The muscles used in smiling are connected to nerves that send signals to the brain, which then releases feel-good chemicals like dopamine, endorphins and serotonin throughout the body. The resulting wave of well-being in itself can make a forced smile real. What’s more, because of mirror neurons, being around smiling people makes their smiles contagious.

I hope this issue helps to brighten your mood and that your August is awesome. I would like to leave you with the following insightful quote by the Dalai Lama: “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”

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