Wednesday, March 25, 2020

An invitation to share on happiness

What is Your Happiness and Health Wisdom?

Hi Friend, 

With so much in the news that is frightening, so much that is outside of our control, and so many people and organizations giving different advise, we feel it is important to reflect and learn from our own wisdom. So we ask:

What are you doing for your happiness and health?

Let us know by clicking here, and in our next newsletter, we will share your wisdom for how to be healthy and happy now. 

boarder 1

Join a Happiness & Health Conversation - an Open Forum Hour on Wednesdays until Earth Day 

March 25 and April 1, 8, 15  & 22 (Earth Day)

12 pm PT/3 pm ET /7 pm GMT

In these days of physical isolation, it's important that we find new ways to socially connect.  It's also important to be able to name and talk about your feelings.

We are hosting a weekly hour for open discussion on how you are feeling and why & what you are doing for your happiness just now. We will begin with short introductions, and each person will have 3 minutes to share how they are feeling and why, and, if they like, one thing they are doing for their happiness and health these days.

Join via zoom:
Meeting ID: 709 331 423
One tap mobile +16699006833,,709331423# US 
Dial by your location +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 709 331 423
Find your local number:

boarder 2

What I am doing for my happiness and health: a message from Laura, our Executive Director. 

Here in Seattle we have been in self-quarantine for a little over a week. The parks are still open for walks, so I have been taking long walks everyday, and spending time among the trees, seeking and soaking peace from them.

Some days are worse than others, and I find myself feeling anxious, Yesterday I found this talk by Tara Brach to be particularly useful. 

As night, I curl up on the couch with my sweetie and we watch comedy shows, nature shows or feel-good movies. We have a news curfew, and also a Covid-19 discussion curfew. 

I have reached out to the elders in my life and helped them to learn how to use online meeting technologies, encouraging them to participate in online groups and have daily face to face online interactions.  

- Laura Musikanski, Executive Director of the Happiness Alliance 

boarder 3

boarder 6

The Loneliness, Happiness and Health Connection

We do not know how long social distancing and self-quarantine will be necessary, but we probably all expect it to last a while. We also do not know if we or our loved ones will survive. This is so scary. Let's not bear this fear alone or let it rob us of our happiness and the enjoyment of our lives. 

We humans are social creatures, even the most introverted of us needs connection with others. Loneliness is not good for us.
Right now, quality of life - our happiness - is really important. 

We looked at data for people who are often or always lonely and people who are rarely or never lonely, and found a few similarities and a few differences. 

Self-perceived health is one place where there is a big difference, as well as feeling postive about oneself, satisfaction with life, and satisfaction with opportunities to enjoy nature. 

People who are not lonely are feel more positively about themselves, are more satisfied with life, are more satisfied with their opportunities to enjoy nature, and feel that they are healthier 

We think that some of these differences may be reflected in your answers to what you are doing for your health and happiness. 

We also feel strongly that we need to do all we can to not be lonely at this time when the threat to our health is so strong. This is why we are starting our Happiness & Health Conversations. 

lonliness graphic

boarder 4

Monday, March 2, 2020

Health, Happiness and the Coronavirus

On behalf of Bliss Medical Center and the Happiness Alliance, here is short presentation with advice for staying healthy and happy in the face of the novel coronavirus.

A bit more about prevention: 

Sanitary techniques that prevent spread of infection including hand washing, hand sanitizing, not touching your face, and wearing masks and taking care not to cough or sneeze near other people remain important.  However, these measures and more aggressive measures (such as quarantine) have failed to stop the spread of the virus. 

As there is no vaccination, no definitive treatment, and preventative measures have generally failed to stop the spread, most people, regardless of their degree of interaction with other people, can be expected to eventually contract the virus.  And because the novel corona virus is potentially lethal, even in those who are otherwise healthy, it is easy to feel powerless and afraid.

While the following techniques will not prevent the spread of the virus, they are sound health advice that can help you maximize your personal health and maintain a positive outlook for you, your friends and family.

What does the data say?

We pulled data all the Happiness Index in 2019 for those who answered the question about their perception of their health (12,486 respondents). We separated the data for people who said their health was very good or excellent (2,975 respondents) from those who said their health was good, fair or poor (9,511 respondents). 

The visualization bellow tells a story.  Those who perceive themselves to be healthy are much happier as well.  When compared, those with a very good or excellent perception of their health scored higher in each of the other domains of happiness, by a wide margin of 14.2 points on a 100 point scale.

What does the visualization say? 

People who perceive themselves to be in very good or excellent health are more satisfied with their exercise and feel they live in a healthy environment. This indicates that a connection to nature and spending time in nature, when your environment is healthy, and spending time is good for your health.  These are findings that science backs up  (White et al., 2019)

It also says that  people who perceive themselves to physically healthy are also psychologically healthy. They are more satisfied with their lives, more likely to feel their lives are worthwhile, more optimistic and more likely to feel their lives have a purpose and meaning. They are also happier. 

What is more, these people are less lonely and feel more of a sense of belonging to their community.

What does this mean to you?

Spend time in nature.  Go for a walk in a park. Garden. Go skiing. Admire your neighbors garden. Go to the beach or a lake.  Take the time to do whatever it is you love to do in nature. 

Take good care of yourself.  Learn about how to change your habits (of thought and deed) and change your mind by developing happiness skills. Talk with a friend or a therapist about the things you feel ashamed about or have grief over - life is hard and most everybody goes through things that are too hard to process alone. Join an Al-Anon group if your life is affected by someone (past or present) with addiction. 

Spend time with the people you love. Taking precautions for your health does not mean you should isolate yourself. Follow good health practices, but don't isolate yourself for long periods of time.  Instead, spend extra time when you feel afraid for your health with the people you love and who love you. 

With love and our hope for your health and happiness,
The Happiness Alliance