Happiness Research & Wendy

Happy Thoughts by Wendy Holcomb

For a young woman with a myriad of health issues Wendy Holcomb is one of the most spunky, positive people I’ve encountered on the blog-o-sphere. In her own words:

I have a few chronic illnesses that are a part of my life: Meniere’s Disease (this has caused severe hearing loss), Gluten Intolerance, Fructose Malabsorption, chronic migraines, Hypothyroidism, Hypoglycemia, chronic pelvic pain, Bi-Polar II Disorder and chronic hip trouble. However, I’m determined to
find a way to live an active, useful, and happy life!

How does Wendy remain so positive?  What makes us happy?  What makes us unhappy?  All the psychology research FINALLY being done on happiness (instead of despair, decay and decadence) appears to have common threads.

University of California psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky finds that  “. . .practicing acts of kindness both random (let that harried mom go ahead of you in the checkout line) and systematic (bring Sunday supper to an elderly neighbor) triggers a cascade of positive [neurochemical] effects—it makes you feel generous and capable, gives you a greater sense of connection with others and wins you smiles, approval and reciprocated kindness—all happiness boosters.”

Psychologist Martin Seligman provides the acronym PERMA to summarize Positive Psychology’s correlational findings: Humans seem happiest when they have

  1. Pleasure (tasty foods, warm baths, etc.)
  2. Engagement (or flow, the absorption of an enjoyed yet challenging activity)
  3. Relationships (social ties have turned out to be extremely reliable indicator of happiness)
  4. Meaning (a perceived quest or belonging to something bigger)
  5. Accomplishments (having realized tangible goals).

There is also a growing body of evidence that correlates “contentment” with just three things:

  • A sense of belonging (a community, faith group, family)
  • The ability to contribute artistically (self-expression in any form)
  • Service (to others).
Personally I will take the 3.  For me it seems that the 3 encompass just about everything else. 

What do you think?

Check out Wendy’s blogs:

CreatetoHeal    PicnicWithAnts   WendyCooks (gluten free recipes)

More Intentional Acts of Kindness

A comment from Nancy that merits a post in and of itself:

“I too have been touched by random acts of kindness. I will never forget a lovely couple who picked me up on the freeway and saw me home when I was a starving student with a very unreliable car.

More recently I think of the kind salesman we met in Italy, who drew us a little map in Florence when we couldn’t find our way, and shared with us the best sights to see and places to eat, all in flawless English!

I had an opportunity to pay it forward recently, when a little Phillipino lady got lost in our neighborhood. She could not remember her telephone number or address and she had nothing in her purse to help me figure out how to get her home. I brought her into my kitchen for a cup of tea, and we contacted the police department, who was able to check the database and find out she lived a few blocks away so we could get her home. She gave me a big hug and said “you are so kind”. I hope she won’t wander away again.”

Intentional Acts of Kindness

I have participants periodically decorate Random Acts of Kindness Cards in my workshops.

And when I give away one of my CDs I include a Pass-it-On kindness card.

When I saw Chris Dunmire’s Intentional Acts of Kindness page on her

CreativityPortal Blog Creativity-Portal.com

I said “YESSSSSS”!  That’s exactly what we need —–INTENTIONAL Acts of Kindness.

Here’ what Chris writes: “A kinder world, one thought at a time

Who has the power to make this a kinder world? You do! All it takes is for one person to ‘plant an act of kindness’ and it has the potential to grow and spread for everyone’s benefit.

Creativity Portal’s Kindness section has been visited by people worldwide seeking information about kindness and tools they can use to spread more kindness around in the world. We invite you to download some of our free printables below and visit other kindness Web sites so we can all participate in intentional acts of kindness and make life a little brighter for everyone.”

Chris has invented one fun way to inspire more kind acts to continue from person to person through her printable Kindness Pass-Along Gift Cards. These cards are free for you to download, print, and use to spread more kindness in your home, office, school, or community.  So make sure you check them out on her blog.

Here’s a PDF copy of my card.  It’s printed on Business Card stock, front and back.

Acts of Kindness Cark, Front.jpeg

Acts of Kindness Card, back.jpeg

WHAT  is YOUR INTENTIONAL ACT OF KINDNESS ?  And what intentional act of kindness have you received?