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How to spend your International Day of Happiness

International Day of Happiness

International Day of Happiness, March 20,  2014

The International Day of Happiness was established by the United Nations General Assembly on 28 June 2012. Assembly Resolution A/RES/66/281 basically states that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal.  They invite the world to observe the International Day of Happiness in an appropriate manner, including through education and public awareness-raising activities.

I hope you will celebrate this day with my BLOG.

How much would it cost to buy Happiness?

One thing that brings happiness to my wife Judy and me is beach music.  We love it.  We go to probably 20 events a year.  In 2011 I purchased a used Mercedes CLK350 convertible. New, this car cost over $50,000.  I paid much less, using the profit from the sale of a Myrtle Beach condo.  I thought, beach music brought us so much happiness, going to beach music in this convertible would make the experience beyond belief.  I even bought personalized plates that proclaimed, I♥BCHMSC.  Well, the first summer I bought it, it rained almost every weekend we were going to use the convertible.   The second summer, it was TOO HOT to use it.  Truth was, I felt guilty driving it.  It just wasn’t me.  It went against everything I preach as a financial planner.  Going to the beach concerts, most of them are free, brought me happiness.  Buying an expensive car didn’t.  I traded it for a new Hyundai Sonata.  Getting a car with a 20-year, 200,000 mile warranty really brought me happiness!

What I’m getting at is that you can’t buy happiness.  To me, the true purpose of the International Day of Happiness is for each individual to just slow down from their lives and identify what makes them happy, why it makes them happy, and the value happiness brings to their life.

Research has conclusively shown that happiness is much more valuable than just a warm, fuzzy feeling.  Positive thoughts generate chemicals (adrenalin & endorphins) that give our brains biological advantages over negative thoughts.    Happiness can prevent both physical and mental illness.  Fifty years ago the mean onset of depression was 29.5 years, today it is 14.5 years.  Teenagers are now experiencing heart attacks.  The great news is, it has been proven that happiness is the natural state of a human.  We ourselves must introduce external stressors (anger, drugs, worry) to make ourselves unhappy.

So let me offer you some ideas for how to spend The International Day of Happiness.

1.  Set your alarm clock for 30 minutes earlier.  Use that 30 minutes to read a devotional, to watch the sunrise, and to pray and meditate.

2.  At the end of each hour, stop what you’re doing, close your eyes, and for 5 minutes, just breathe.  Breathe in deeply through your nose to fill your lungs, then slowly exhale through your mouth.  Study your breathing.  Force out all negative thoughts with each exhalation.

3.  At the beginning of each hour, think back to something that really made you happy.

4.  At lunch time, instead of eating fast food, buy an apple, and take a walk.

5.  Phone or spend time with at least 3 people that make you happy when you are around them.

6.  Do something new today, something you have never had the nerve to do before.

7.  Throughout the day, listen to soothing music (maybe they call it elevator music because it’s going to lift you to a higher plane.)

8.  Stop and smell the roses.  Throughout the day, stop and appreciate the things you take for granted;  God’s creations.  Children at play.  Beautiful art.  A lovely sunset.

9.  Smile constantly until at least five people asks you “What’s so funny?”

10. Do at least one good deed today, preferably anonymously.

11.  Go through old photos, find ones that make you happy, then post them in a scrapbook or keep in a folder to go back to whenever you feel unhappy.

12. Tonight, only watch 2 hours of TV, and make it something funny, maybe on TVLAND.  Watch I Love Lucy reruns.

13.  Use the other hours tonight to read an inspirational book, perhaps one of the Chicken Soup books.  Or read some of my inspirational BLOGS on this website.

14.  Before you fall asleep, thank God for all the things that have made you happy today.  Think back to what a great day this was, and then commit yourself to making 2014 The International Year of Happiness.

I hope you will reply here or email me at handh_services@hotmail.com and tell me what you did today to make it special.  The best reply will receive a Happy book from me.

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About Jerry Haynes

OK, where do I start. I was born…., no that line has already been taken.Call me…, oops so has that one. Well, I won’t attempt to spout musical prose, and just be myself. I grew up in the small cotton mill town of Fries, VA. My parents were hardworking members of the middle class. They never earned more than a little over minimum wage, but I can never remember lacking for anything. After graduating from Fries High School in 1969, I started to VA Tech. After two years of partying (1st), going to movies (2nd), and studying, well, much further down the list, VA Tech decided I need a two year break to get my priorities straight. With a number 8 in the draft lottery, I knew that even if the Hokies didn’t want me, Uncle Sam did. I joined the US Navy. I got my priorities straight. I’m proud to be a Viet Nam veteran, but feel guilty I never got deployed. I graduated from Tech in 1977 with a BS in Civil Engineering. For the next 35 years I would work in both the private and public sectors. My first job took me to Tazewell County, Virginia where I soon joined the Jaycees. This ignited my passion for individual development. This passion still burns today.

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