Watch the 1950 musical Summer Stock (Judy Garland’s last film for MGM) and she promises
Forget your troubles, come on get happy/You better chase all your cares away/Shout Hallelujah, come on get happy/Get ready for the judgment day
Doesn’t always work.
According to the latest research, approximately 50% of our happiness rests on the deliberate decisions we make day after day. Yet in the midst of rushed mornings and overbooked schedules, it can be challenging to step back and be intentional in the pursuit of happiness. Happiness is important because it correlates with better physical health, better relationships, success at work, and even longevity.
In The Mayo Clinic Handbook for Happiness: A 4-Step Plan for Resilient Living (Da Capo Lifelong Books, $15.99) Dr. Amit Sood, professor of medicine and chair of the Mind-Body Medicine Initiative at Mayo Clinic, outlines practical guidelines and habits drawn from a research-validated program, to integrate happiness into everyday life. He empowers readers to choose happiness in the most mundane of moments. Whether waiting in an elevator or folding laundry, Dr. Sood teaches readers how to make the most of those seemingly insignificant times. He takes readers into the complex world of the brain, explains how it works, why people make the choices they do, and how to use the brain’s functions to one’s advantage.
Throughout the book, Dr. Sood provides detailed, step-by-step practices to help readers intentionally make room for happiness. From breathing techniques, to visualizing positive images, to closing one’s eyes, they are simple and easy to implement. The questions, prompts, and checklists help the readers identify roots and causes. This powerful program is now taught to over 50,000 people at Mayo Clinic and elsewhere.
Dr. Sood outlines a Four-Step, Ten-Week Program to readers:
1. Train Your Attention: Learn to develop intentional attention which will enable you to command your thoughts and shift perspective.
2. Cultivate Emotional Resilience: Build inner emotional strength by making room for gratitude, compassion, acceptance, meaning and forgiveness.
3. Start a Mind-Body Practice: Deepen your spiritual awareness through meditation, prayer, or any mind-body practice that works for you.
4. Pick Healthy Habits: Direct your willpower to making positive, concrete changes to lead to a healthier you.
With plenty of space to journal, jot down notes, and answer questions, this book engages readers in a productive, interactive experience. It proves that people do have control over their own happiness and provides all the steps needed to get there.