I’ve been noticing how happy many of the members of my cancer support group seem. Yes, we have fears about our diagnosis, strange side-effects from the treatments we elect and frustrations at our experiences with the many medical professionals we lean on for our care. However, when we get together smiles abound and laughs flow freely. How does this happen?
1. Reach out to others. We share our cancer experience. There are positive sensations that come from social interactions. When I step into our support group meeting room, I feel an instant lift of my spirits. Many of us believe that these positive connections help to extend our lives. Even outside of my cancer experience, I find spending time with a friend or colleague to often turn a frustrated mood into a more relaxed one. Connecting with others definitely raises my happiness quotient.
2. Chose to act happy – Acting happy is likely to make you feel happy according to an article in Psychology Today. I know this from coaching clients who are working on trying a new behavior. Acting confident before you completely believe it can often result in your not only appearing confident but experiencing yourself in a new way too. The more one acts in the new way, the more the behavior becomes the new normal. Many of my fellow cancer survivors have just decided to live their days being happy.
3. Share what you know. Offering what you have learned really make a difference to others. As we share the ins and outs of our medical journeys, we feel great to be in a group that cares and will listen to anything we offer. The magic happens when the thing one person shares about their experience becomes the missing link of information or inspiration for someone else.
4. Be grateful. Many who have been given a serious health diagnosis report that the experience gives almost instant clarity about what is truly important in life. The little things of life take on big meaning. Gratefulness for each breath, each day and each moment of enjoyment is more easily expressed. We say, “Life is precious” and really mean it. Many of us become savorers of life. Life becomes juicy in new ways. I am filled with a sense of contentment when I focus on the people, places and things for which I am thankful. Being grateful makes me so happy.
What enables you to be happy?