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How Can You Be as Happy as This Cat?

Happy Act Happy Week! And if you’re not happy and you know it, it’s OK to not be able to give an Oscar-winning performance. In this week’s newsletter I’ll help you find your way back to happy with a few mental wellbeing tools you can use any time, in the privacy of your own head. Or you can just watch funny cat videos - whatever works for you is good.

Have you ever thought about our amazing range of emotions and how quickly they can switch up, based on what’s happening around us? Research at UC Berkley identified 27 distinctly different emotional states of mind, and also showed that they are interconnected, allowing us to slide easily and quickly between them. What are the 27 emotions they identified through a research study with over 800 participants? Here you go: admiration, adoration, aesthetic appreciation, amusement, anger, anxiety, awe, awkwardness, boredom, calmness, confusion, craving, disgust, empathic pain, entrancement, excitement, fear, horror, interest, joy, nostalgia, relief, romance, sadness, satisfaction, sexual desire, and surprise. 

Did you notice the word that’s NOT in there? You’re right – “happy” is missing from the list, though “amusement,” “calmness” and “joy” are all associated emotional states. With all of those choices, Act Happy Week aims to remind us that even when we’re not feeling it, by acting happy or doing things that typically make us happy, we can create a happier state of mind. Dr. Dale Anderson, a retired surgeon, speaker and owner of, created Act Happy Day in 2004, which has grown to Act Happy Week because people were having such a good time with random acts of kindness, watching funny videos, shows and movies, and doing things that made them happier that it couldn’t be contained in just one day. Dr. Anderson suggests starting at least one day this week with a 15-minute belly laugh. I think that’s a great daily goal, and also believe that finding things that make you laugh for any length of time at any point in your day is a wonderful way to increase your body’s feel-good chemicals. Why is adding laughter to your day important? The act of laughing strengthens the immune system, burns calories and is almost a super-hero at easing stress. 

Sometimes it feels hard to get happier, so hard, in fact, that maybe you feel like pushing back on all of this focus on happiness. Trust me, with a company name like Center for Workplace Happiness, I get pushback at least once a week. “Happiness” feels too soft and fluffy, not businesslike and buttoned up. Here’s something you might not know – in a longitudinal study spanning over 8 decades and counting, Harvard University researchers discovered that a key factor in a person’s success in life – career, relationship, family – was that person’s overall level of happiness and contentment. Want more success? Get happier, and today’s as good a day as any to get started. Need some ideas? The world’s second-shortest podcast to the rescue! 

The Wellbeing Wisdom Tiny Bites podcast is a daily, 90-seconds-or-less, look into how you can improve your chances for success by improving your outlook and attitude. The tools offered are based in neuroscience and neuroplasticity and are already inside your body – we just help you know how to use them. Subscribe on our website or wherever you get your podcast fix.  

Have fun playing with ways to make yourself happier this week. Laugh as often as you can, and laugh with friends and family so they get the benefits too. Here’s to your success, one funny cat video at a time! 

Wags, Sandy Weaver, Program Director, Center for Workplace Happiness
Author of Happy Vet Happy Pet, The Original MBA, and co-author of The Happiness Recipe and The 28-Day Thought Diet 

PS... Want the perfect way to start each day? Check out the Mind, Body, Soul Sessions podcast – something for your whole self, for just $7 per month.


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