Think Happy, Be Happy

by Dana Demas

A new study finds that people who let their minds wander are happier if they think pleasant thoughts than if they think unpleasant thoughts.

Perhaps it’s true that if we “hope for the best” and “stay positive,” things do feel less overwhelming. However, this can be a difficult, almost unrealistic, expectation during cancer. Stresses come from every direction and cancer takes no prisoners – whether relationships, finances or peace of mind.

It can be helpful to set aside a time for worrying, then literally say ‘no’ when negative thoughts creep in at other times. This is a form of mindfulness training that yoga and other ancient traditions have taught since the beginning of time. The negative thoughts may not stop coming, but you can decide whether or not to engage them.

However, there is also something to be said for forgetting these thoughts entirely. The study found that people who were totally immersed in the moment, ranked the happiest of all. This idea of “flow” – of being so consumed by what you are doing that you forget about time or even to think of anything else – has also been around since ancient times.

Activities that promoted the most good feelings included, in order: sex, exercise, conversation, listening to music, taking a walk, eating, praying and meditating, cooking, shopping, taking care of your kids and reading.

Can you fit more of these activities into your day?