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How Happy Are You?

How are you doing? Are your spirits up? I hope so. But for many people this can be a difficult time of year, and for some, a difficult time of life.

Let's talk about your happiness

Ayurveda teaches us that disease begins with the imbalance of the doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) but did you know that the imbalances of the MIND are the ROOT CAUSE of the dosha imbalances?

That's right! Our thoughts, feelings and emotions can destroy us or become our greatest healers and super powers.

Today, I want to share a perspective about happiness with you because trying or expecting to "be happy" all the time can tangle up our thoughts and emotions and affect our health.

Recently, I picked up the book, "The Happiness Curve, why life gets better after 50" by Jonathan Rauch. No, I'm not 50 yet, but I've definitely felt differently about my level of happiness, which is why this book caught my attention.

Over the last few years, I've found it harder and harder to elevate my feelings past just "pretty good". I wondered if it was the struggle to move out of COVID times and isolation that had me feeling a little blah, or my daughter leaving for college or, simply aging. It's not that I'm not happy, it's just been difficult to understand the struggle- until I read this book!

Well, according to Jonathan Raugh it's not uncommon to feel this way AT ALL. Actually, everyone will experience a dip in happiness gradually from the age of around 20 and bottoming out around 55! The lowest part of the curve is between 45-55. Here's a chart from the book.

And guess what? According to Ayurveda, this age range is also the point at which we enter vata stage of life and our bodies are going through a big transition (male and female) and it can feel like quite a bump in the road! So much is happening to us during this time.

Carol Graham and Milena Nikolova did an analysis of the biggest data set out there, the Gallup World Poll, whose survey set of 160 or more countries covers 99 percent of the world's population. What Rauch illustrates from this data set (and discusses in the book), is that "it's perfectly possible to be very satisfied with your life at middle age, but it is harder. The happiness curve is like an undertow that pulls against you in middle age. That doesn't mean you can't row against it, or perhaps your load has become lighter, so the dip may not be that noticeable... But, for those who reach middle age without having experienced major life difficulties in earlier adulthood, this time can feel unsettling" and he explains this would be perfectly NORMAL.

This doesn't mean you should look forward to dread, this just means people felt a tad bit less happy for a time then they did when they were younger and they will be happier in coming years.

If you're in middle age, consider all that is happening in your life; aging parents, maybe kids leaving the house, perhaps a divorce, career advances or changes, and slower resiliency of the physical body. Throw in a pandemic and social and political unrest and it's tough for everyone, not just us middle-agers.

My point is this

When you feel pressure to be happier, or you're wondering what's wrong with you, don't rush into a panic. You're most likely A-OK! And don't compare yourself to others because, as the study shows, if they're your age, they are bumping along this decade of time, too.

But, if you find yourself feeling in need of support:

1) get together with friends (your age) and talk about it-you'll find a lot in common and you'll feel better

2) Get together with someone older then 60 (ask them if they are happier now or when they were your age).

3) Call up your therapist, or find someone who can support you through this time. You don't have to be in a crisis to get therapy and you never have to feel alone.

Remember, your thoughts will manifest in the body, so feed the body kindly-take care of yourself. Sit quietly every morning for a moment to check in with yourself and give yourself kudos for all you are handling by yourself- like a boss I might add. You're amazing!



I'd love to share wisdom from those who are on the upswing of the curve (over 55).

If you have a second I'd love to ask a few questions click HERE

Feel free to share this link with your friends over 55. I'd love to share the responses with everyone in my next note.

Thanks in advance.

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