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Go after whatever makes you happy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Friday, 11 March 2016 18:26

By Lori Pankonin

A few years back, I was at an awards ceremony where reporters were honored for stories that made an impact.

One of the recipients started his acceptance response referring to a study that showed saying thank you creates happiness. After giving numerous kudos, he concluded that expressing appreciation to those who had influenced his writing career was as gratifying to him as receiving the award.


I recently wrote about the influence of Pharrell Williams popular song, “Happy.” Numerous discussions sparked from that catchy tune. What does influence happiness?


No matter how many studies and conclusions are recorded, no matter how scientific, we know that personalities and likes are so very different in different people. A book or movie that appeals to someone and stirs up a happy mood could very well affect the next guy the opposite.


Golf would by all means be one of my husband’s top happiness triggers. It’s his passion. I would be just fine if I never had a golf encounter again . . . that is as long as my husband could still live and love it.


In reviewing various scientific studies where brain stimuli was measured, I could totally relate to the conclusions that happiness is strong with those experiencing close relationships, being grateful, doing things for others, enjoying nature and culture, focusing on experiences rather than possessions, not holding grudges and adopting healthy habits with exercise and nutrition.


One that surprised me was to listen to sad songs. The report noted, “Listening to sad music seems to be a common activity that’s been linked with increased happiness around the globe. In a study that looked at 772 people on the eastern and western hemispheres, researchers found that listening to sad music generated beneficial emotional effects.”


Hmmm. I would think sad music would be the last go-to answer for someone struggling with depression or sadness. So much for what I think.


Another surprise to me was that breathing in the smell of dirt may lift spirits. Science shows that mycobacterium vaccae, a bacteria common in soil, produces effects similar to antidepressants, increasing serotonin levels. Well let’s go play in the dirt!


What’s important is that everyone discovers what triggers happiness for them and go after it. You might also try looking for what makes someone else happy. After all, making others happy provides a kickback for personal pleasure. It’s a win win!

LORI PANKONIN is co-publisher of Johnson Publications newspapers in Imperial, Wauneta and Grant, and part-owner of the Holyoke Enterprise in Holyoke, Colo. E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it