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If you plan to age, prepare yourself — it's later than you think. The challenge of aging well should be taken seriously, but not grimly! Whatever your age, it's never too soon, or too late, to learn and apply the fine art of aging well, really well. Discover what aspects of aging can't be changed and improve the rest that can. Mold your own realities with REAL wellness, Ardell-style.

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by Donald B. Ardell, Ph. D.
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Wellness in the Headlines
(Don's Report to the World)

Why Happiness Should Be Part of Worksite Wellness

Thursday May 14, 2009

Exploring the nature of happiness as part of worksite programming will help reestablish the concept as a positive, health-enriching and life-affirming idea about how to live, as it was intended in the first place. As Willard Spiegelman observed in his book Seven Pleasures, "Happiness has received less respect and less serious attention than melancholy, its traditional opposite." No good reason to continue that unfortunate tradition. Just as important, a bit of attention to the art and science of happiness will increase both the appeal and the effectiveness of worksite wellness.

Few would question the significance of happiness to a state of excellent health. However, not many ever think of it.

In recent years, an entire segment of the field of psychology has developed around this issue, known as "hedonic studies" or positive psychology (as contrasted to negative psychology—the traditional exclusive focus on dysfunctions, pathologies and the miseries of neuroses and psychoses).

Happiness is one aspect of REAL wellness—positive lifestyle promotion focused on an increase in the quality of life, not just lowering the risks of illness. 

For starters, there are many paths to happiness, but most (like sex, drugs and rock and roll) lead elsewhere. It is quite an art not to get lost looking for your own best path(s) to happiness. Many have gone down roads to nowhere or worse through the years—such searching is the stuff of great literature (and classic movies, including The Wizard Of Oz). We can learn much about happiness from other journeys. Like Dorothy, we may conclude that some, if not all, wizards are humbug.

The pursuit of happiness is much more than an attempt to have a good time. It is part of our unique quest for self-discovery. It is a life-long rite of passage. In seeking ways to be happy or happier, we discover our talents. When fortunate, we learn that happiness is not a destination, but a way of traveling.

If we are fortunate, we might also learn happy feelings occur regularly, but can't be retained, held in place and secured. These experiences need renewal, often flowing from good works. From a wellness perspective, a good question might be, "How can I experience more happiness as part of a healthful, fulfilling existence?"

The cultivation of other wellness skill areas will boost prospects of happiness. It's a logical and highly-beneficial, early step to take in advancing toward the experience of more happiness in your life.

In the next essay, I'll continue to explore with you the basic nature of happiness. For now, look on the bright side—that's a happiness-boosting perspective in itself. 

Domain: mental
Subdomain: emotional intelligence

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