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The Happiness Factor Can Save Your Life!

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Specializes in Wellness and Coaching for Women in their Third Act. Has 54 years experience.

Welcome to installment #8 of the A to Z for a Rocking Retirement. H = HAPPINESS. When is the last time you have been really happy as a nurse. In my career I haven’t seen a lot of happy nurses around. Do we graduate and then get so serious about the work we do that we lose our sense of humor, play and fun?

The Happiness Factor Can Save Your Life!

Now that you are on the cusp of your retirement years, or contemplating jumping out of nursing, what does the Happiness Factor have to do with this? Well guess what - Everything! You were put on this earth to be happy and feel good, and if that is not happening for you, then your next phase of life is a great chance to have a do-over and seek out what truly makes you happy again and then go after it!

So Let's start building a case for why you need to activate your happiness factor before you enter your next stage of life.

If you are happy your physical health improves and you live longer, and I know that is an issue as you age! Here's what The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley says about why being happy is so important to your well-being.

  • Lowers risk of heart disease and blood pressure and reduces heart rate
  • Lowers cortisol (stress hormone) so you are better able to deflect stress and not let it get to you
  • Combats disease and disability and you have fewer aches and pains
  • ·Improves immunity so you are less likely to get sick and, if you do, you have fewer symptoms

And from Dr. James D. Baird, author of Happiness Genes, Happiness can alter your genes! The new science of epigenetics reveals there are reserves of natural happiness within your DNA that can be controlled by you, by your emotions, beliefs and behavioral choices. Yes you are in charge of your own happiness and if you activate it, your well-being improves.

But wait - there's more! If you live a healthy lifestyle you will be rewarded with the release of Happy Hormones.

Serotonin - regulates mood, prevents depression, makes you feel happy

Endorphins - makes you feel good, reduces anxiety and sensitivity to pain

Dopamine - makes you feel mentally alert

Are you impressed with these benefits of being happy? And you can achieve this with NO DRUGS! So as you face your next chapter in life, arm yourself with "happiness" so whatever you choose to pursue, you will be ready, willing, able and "happy" to do it.

Let me help you get started by sharing my 10-Step Prescription for a Happier Life.

  1. Mindfulness. Being in the moment allows you to correct any negative situation right on the spot and shift your thinking toward positivity.
  2. Connect socially, especially if you are retiring and feel like you are leaving your support network behind. This is a great time to join new groups and expand your circle of friends. And try to find "happy" people while you're at it!
  3. Exercise daily. This is a great stress reliever and provides that endorphin rush which is one of those happy hormones.
  4. Balance your blood sugar by eating frequent small meals of organic, mostly raw, low glycemic foods and healthy fats like coconut oil and avocado. YUM!
  5. Practice forgiveness. Free yourself from past grudges. After all, the person you hold a grudge against may not even know you are carrying around all that angst, so guess who suffers? YOU not them. Let it go.
  6. Practice loving yourself. Be selfish and put yourself first (finally) and ease up on that caretaker role that always puts you second. This is your time to shine!
  7. Pursue goals that excite you, bring you joy, reveal your true gifts and make you want to get up every morning in anticipation of having fun.
  8. Surround yourself with positive people so you can catch the wave.
  9. Live a life of meaning and purpose. You have already done that in your nursing career, but this time it's on your own terms so go out there and set the world on fire!
  10. Start every day with a happy practice. Write down 3 things you will do during the day that will make you happy, and your days will be filled with happiness.

Now it is your turn to take action on what will make you happy. Which one, or more will you select and how will you put it into action? Or maybe you already have adopted a life of happiness. We would love to hear what you are doing and what difference that has made in your life. Please share your thoughts!

Carol Ebert RN, BSN, MA, CHES, Certified Wellness Practitioner, Certified Mindful Coach, Sanoviv Nutrition Advisor

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2 Comment(s)

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

Great post. Thank you.

But I prefer to focus on achieving serenity rather than happiness.... a great line from Brighton Beach Memoirs (Neil Simon) sums it up "Happy doesn't last - now depression, there's an emotion that stays with you". :D

Carol Ebert, MSN, RN

Specializes in Wellness and Coaching for Women in their Third Act. Has 54 years experience.

I like both! And Neil Simon's humor too! Now that was a guy who spread happiness generously.