How important is happiness? The quest for happiness is plot for novels, poems, music, movies and other works of fiction. Happiness also shows up in the German and U.K. National Anthems. It forms part of the American Declaration of Independence, is a popular Chinese Symbol, and appears in speeches at weddings and birthdays worldwide. Happiness is important. Is happiness important to you? Your happiness is something you should be thinking of right now.  Here are 10 compelling reasons why.

1. Because life’s too short to waste on things that don’t matter. 

Life coach Cheryl Richardson, in her book Take Time for your Life, described the fire that gutted her office early in her career. “In an instant, life as you know it can disappear forever.” She relates how fire, like a natural disaster, “puts you in touch with how valuable every moment really is.”  Don’t wait for loss or disaster before you begin doing the things that bring meaning to your life.

2. Because if you don’t, you will regret it.

Young adults dream of high adventure but have no means to pursue it. Those in early middle age have the means but no time.  Retirees have all the time and the means but health issues limit mobility. Now is the right time to begin living your dreams. Pick more daisies now if you’re moved to do so, and keep regret out of your life.

3. Because you are 50% percent less likely to get ill when you’re happy.

In a study of more than 3,000 older adults by the University College London, findings showed unhappy people are twice as likely to have health problems than those who enjoy life and choose to be physically active. A Harvard School of Public Health study of 6,000 individuals, aged 25 to 74, similarly showed that a sense of enthusiasm and hopefulness appears to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

4. Because when you’re happy, life transitions become a walk in the park.

Your life coping mechanisms matter a lot during transitions like starting college, getting married or working in a foreign country. Transitions become difficult for people who cling to what’s familiar and therefore view anything that’s different – the weather, the food, the culture, their relationships – as unsatisfactory. Happiness makes you open to new things and to different ways of getting things done.

5. Because happiness helps you recover sooner from life’s disappointments.

Happy individuals accept disappointments as part of life but always expect more good things to come their way. Why? Because they do not dwell on their failure. They look for the lessons and the silver lining, and then move on and apply those lessons.

6. Because happiness creates a harmonious home life.

An upbeat mood reflects your positive outlook. Your spouse/partner and children are more relaxed and cheerful around you.  Simply by being pleasant to them, you acknowledge their contributions to your life. They feel appreciated.

7. Because a happy person gets work done faster and smoother.

Your optimism rubs off on your work team. Your colleagues communicate easily with you. They are glad to be on your team and are motivated to perform well. Your relations with superiors and other stakeholders are pleasant and work decisions come easier.  Happiness is the oil that smoothes human relations.

8. Because no one else can do it for you.

At the height of being in love, couples promise to make each other happy.  The feeling is real and the intent is honest and genuine, but holding another person responsible for your happiness is setting you both up for failure.  The good news is YOU map your own happiness. When you take charge of your happiness, no one can rain your parade.

9. Because your quest will take you to incredible experiences of personal growth. 

Finding your happiness is learning about yourself and discovering what life’s about. Beyond the limits of your comfort zone is where meaningful growth happens. When you expose yourself to a range of experiences, you gain  knowledge, cultivate interests, develop skills, and make new friends. If a crisis happens in one area of your life, growth in other areas of your life works as a buffer.

10. Because being a zombie is no fun.

Some people live their lives by default. They go through their days in auto mode, not noticing much and contributing even less.  Almost numb, they’ve become like zombies jerking involuntarily and grunting incoherently in a black-and-white world. Where’s the fun in that?

To be fully alive is a gift to be grabbed. Happiness makes life a vividly colorful journey and YOU hold the steering wheel. Start  the engine.

Featured photo credit: Fedori Nataliia via flckr

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