Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Happiness is Relative

The British Medical Journal reported a study that suggests our happiness is directly impacted by the happiness levels of those around us. In fact, our happiness levels can be affected at three degrees of separation....the happiness of a friend of a friend can improve our own happiness! But really, anyone who understands the dakband concept already knew that. Kindness spreads happiness, and happiness improves health. A win win situation.

A few years ago I read a wonderful book, The Geography of Bliss. A must read. As you can see this is a well loved book. (My husband has pointed out - many times - that, at a certain point, the flags are no longer helpful :) After journeying around the world, exploring the most and least "happy" countries in the world, the author concludes, "There is no such thing as personal happiness. Happiness is one hundred percent relational."

Think about the impact of kindness in this light. Whenever we offer a dakband to an individual, we are directly impacting their health - and perhaps the health of their friends!

Interestingly another study in the British Medical Journal suggests that happiness can ward off heart disease. Now given my recent history this really got my attention. And I am 'happy' to report that although I have a serious heart condition complete with my own built in defibrillator, I have no sign of heart disease (in fact my surgeon said I have "beautiful arteries"). I would definitely attribute my heart health and recovery to the love and support that has been showered upon me through many, many acts of kindness.

For example, today, I received this incredible letter from our son's girlfriend - a truly happy soul - a hand written note and four small healing stones. It is impossible to under estimate the healing power of kindness.

I sincerely hope that you consider me a friend and thus can share, and benefit from my happiness.

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