Research shows that joy is wired into our genes, brain circuits and biology, and in times like these, it matters more than ever. But the kind of happiness that matters in tough times has nothing to do with parties or celebrations. The happiness that helps in great difficulty is realistic. It recognizes fears and anxieties, but it looks for meaning and it nourishes and sustains us.
In the wake of a life-shattering crisis or global disaster, something positive often happens. After the World Trade Center attacks in 2001, people felt more gratitude, hope, kindness and love than they did before 9/11. It wasn’t that they were pretending the disaster didn’t happen. But they were searching for positive emotions and “emotional resilience” to get through a crisis with less despair and a better perspective. Researchers call this “positivity,” a mix of realism, hope and compassion.
We are naturally wired for survival, rather than happiness so we have to work at it. First of all, human connection is the “chicken soup” for happiness. It’s not the number of friends you have or whether you are in a committed relationship, but the quality of your relationships that matters. Second, physical activity can boost happiness by reducing stress and releasing feel-good brain chemicals. It brings more oxygen to the brain, which calms the anxious mind and over time, can create beneficial brain changes too. Next, take a moment to savor. Pause to enjoy a sunrise, a sunset, the beautiful songs of birds, the joy of our pets (view our whippets), a special song. A regular savoring habit can increase happiness for a longer period of time.
The good news is that as a person grows older, there is a steady increase in joy. Researchers say that decades of life experience combine with brain rewiring to create a new kind of happiness for those in their 50s and beyond. In older people who keep themselves physically, mentally and socially active, there is a growth of wisdom and they don’t get as upset when things go wrong. They focus on the positive and on people and connections. Having a sense of purpose makes them feel great. Resilient people know they have a choice: happiness does not come from the outside.
We, at Whippet Properties of Florida, are the “older generation” of positive people who have the wisdom, experience and joy to help guide you to your next home. Even though these are tough times, working with the right agents can reduce your stress and add happiness to your decision to buy or sell.