The Simple Secret to Happiness!

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Youthful and Healthy!

Apart from being an enjoyable escape, though, is there any real reason to seek out the silliness of our youth? I mean, we've got families and jobs and laundry to do. Must we really make time for this nonsense? The answer is yes. There are benefits obvious to anyone who regularly reads newspaper reports of studies confirming that happy people are healthier. Just this past year, for example, a Duke University Medical Center study found, after following heart patients for 11 years, that those who had reported happiness, optimism, and joy were 20 percent more likely to be alive than those who had frequently reported more negative feelings. So, certainly, reintegrating joy into your life can be good for your health.

But Dr. Hallowell suggests the psychological benefits are even more critical. Behaving "childishly" is not only invigorating, it also reminds you how little you need to be happy. "Someone once said happiness is not having what you want, it's wanting what you have," he says. "Kids are good at this. They can show us that all you need is to be alive to find all kinds of excitement."

And even more glorious, reexperiencing childhood joys can help reignite our dreams. Sadly, as our responsibilities grow, most of us lose a bit of the fire of our childhood, that fabulous flame that allowed us to imagine doing great and exciting things. "There's no reason adults have to lose that," says Dr. Hallowell, who suggests that a visit to childhood activities can help revive it. "Maybe you need to go back in your mind, or even physically go to the street you played on or the house you lived in, to get that fire started again."

Continued on page 3:  Revive the Joy


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