February is the month of hearts and roses in honor of Valentine’s Day. While there are many theories surrounding the first Saint Valentine, it wasn’t until the 1400s that the term valentine was used to describe a love note.
Today, Valentine’s Day is celebrated around the world in many ways; some recognize it as a day of love and others observe it as a day to celebrate friendships. Children share candy and cards while adults spend money on chocolates, flowers, and other gifts.
In this world of uncertainty and gloom, let’s take the month of February to spread happiness. I would challenge you to find ways to honor the memory of Saint Valentine by bringing sunshine to those around you.
Consider the benefits of becoming a happier person. When you smile it can lower your heart rate, reduce your stress, and make your brain release happy chemicals. A smile can be one of those “pay it forward” moments if you share it with the clerk at the fuel desk or the person in the next cubicle. Add a greeting, like, “I hope you’re having a good day,” and it should raise their spirits as well.
Studies have shown that happy people are healthier because they tend to exercise more, eat better, and get more sleep. Happy people also have less stress, stronger immune systems, and even increased longevity. However, that could be the effect of happiness, not always the cause.
The National Academy of Sciences found that happier people also earn more money. Yes, smile more and lift your friends and co-workers and you could financially benefit. An optimistic person will accept more challenges and take more risks, which elevates earning potential.
An Entrepreneur Magazine article gave these reasons why happy people typically have higher incomes. Since cheerful workers are usually healthier, they have fewer sick days and are more productive. This results in better performance reviews which end up in higher salaries.
How can you become a happier person? Take this short month to focus on your happiness journey. You know that exercise and healthy eating are good for you, so make it a priority. Adding a few more steps and eliminating one soda daily will be a great start to a more joyful you!
Be more friendly to those around you. Make it a point to compliment someone or send a positive note to a coworker. Focus on them, not on yourself, and you’ll start noticing little things that can make their day better and add to your happiness in the process. While you’re at it, give yourself a pat on the back when you accomplish something. Look in the mirror and say, “Nice work today self!”
Stop comparing yourself to others, and limit social media. Most people want to brag about their accomplishments, not air their failures, so you’re only getting half the story. Set your own goals and standards, their postings probably don’t reflect their reality anyway.
Find time to slow down, breathe, and think. Call it meditation, prayer or just clearing your head, spend some quiet time to yourself. You need to take care of yourself before you can help others (think of that oxygen mask dropping from above).
When you’re feeling pressured, try to look at the bright side. Things could always be worse, so count your blessings and list some positive things. Notice the little things you’re overlooking each day, whether it’s a hug from a child, a twenty-dollar bill in your pocket, or just a plate of cookies in the office, notice these and appreciate them.
Let’s make the entire month of February a happy experience in honor of Saint Valentine. Not only will you benefit from the experience, but you’ll make the industry a better place and a happier environment for all of us. I’ll be watching for your smile!