Happiness is a manageable goal. That is, we are not born with and or without it. Certainly, expanding happiness is not the same for everybody. But we all can be happier if we work at it.
The reason happiness deepening is valuable is that there is an enormous payoff. For example, in some extensive research, happy people were half as likely to die and half as likely to become disabled in the 20 years they were observed. Positive emotions — happiness, they concluded — protects against the ravages of aging.
50% of who we are is genetic; we are born with certain characteristics. But 50% is also changeable, flexible, learned, and open to growth. That half is able to behave, act, relate, and grow into greater happiness.
Our Care and Kindness Campaign is not first of all about happiness. It is about blessing people, giving gifts of affirmation, encouraging, appreciating people. But the wonderful truth is that a life steadily concentrating on that kind of giving is going to be a happier life. Not only will the recipients be happier, but the ones thoughtfully dedicated to giving such loving kindness will also be happier.
There are endless ways of brightening an hour or even a day (good food, great movies, satisfying gardening, pleasant conversations, beautiful flowers, and other endless additional activities.) But . . . happiness is different. It is the product of thoughtful actions — actions that lift another’s spirits. Actions such as loving kindness, consistently expressed and demonstrated, create happiness in the giver as well as the receiver.