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Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Contentment Factor


Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment.”
Grenville Kleiser

All of us have moods. They're like clouds. Sometimes they are puffy and bright, sometimes dark and stormy, sometimes wispy and almost invisible. Just as with all human emotions, moods typically come and go. Some of us are naturally good humored—it takes a lot of negativity to put us in a bad mood. Some of us have “bad-mood” as a predominant personality trait. A very unfortunate personality trait.

Perpetual-bad-mood people are grouchy, irritable, critical, and sometimes paranoid. They seem always to be looking for reasons to support their ill humor. They relish conspiracy theories and apocalyptic scenarios. While they can be entertaining in the short run, they tend to drive people away over time, and then, they feel victimized by their abandonment. I wonder if someone you know comes to mind. The sorts of illnesses that go with this negativity are just what you'd expect—indigestion, acid re-flux, irritable bowel syndrome—all the gut diseases. In past centuries, ill-humored people were thought to have too much bile.

Perpetual-good-mood people can sometimes be almost as annoying as grouchy people. Their Pollyanna, everything is oh-so wonderful, wide-eyed naivety can get on your last nerve, especially if you're a bad-mood person. One of the most aggravating, and unfortunately, universal Southern responses to the proverbial “How are you” question is, “Oh, I'm blessed.” “How nice for you,” I say. But, here's the deal—good health and good humor go together. Folks who tend toward the positive regardless of what's going on around them, have fewer illnesses and recover faster. They have stronger immune systems. Their guts aren't always in turmoil.

Finding serenity is an important human milestone for health, happiness and peace of mind. Identifying ways of turning off the negative, and moving toward the positive, even when life is not perfect, will favorably affect your overall sense of well-being. One thing that helps turn this corner is having something constructive to do with your life. Finding purpose and meaning, feeling good about yourself and where your life is going, learning how to be content—all contribute to robust good health. What brings you serenity? Go and do that.

                                                               In the Spirit,

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