Teaching Happiness is POWERFUL medicine

We’ve been posting about the benefits of developing “Happiness Habits”.  We all say sure, sure and then let those “habits” slide.  This recent research from Northwestern University study got our attention:

Teaching happiness to men with HIV boosts their health

“This is believed to be the first test of a positive emotion intervention in people newly diagnosed with HIV. Based on the study results, the intervention is promising for people in the initial stages of adjustment to any serious chronic illness.”

Learning skills for positive emotions result in less HIV in blood and less anti-depressant use.

“When individuals recently diagnosed with HIV were coached to practice skills to help them experience positive emotions, the result was less HIV in their blood and lower antidepressant use, reports a new study. Men using positive emotion skills learned to cope with their stress, while men in the control group increased their use of anti-depressants.”

The findings extend to dementia caregivers and women with metastatic breast cancer.”

Here are the “Happiness Habits”  taught.  We’ll give you how-to in posts to follow.

1) Recognizing a positive event each day

2) Savoring that positive event and logging it in a journal or telling someone about it

3) Starting a daily gratitude journal

Cat journaling

Cat ‘n Mouse journaling by Peggy

4) Listing a personal strength each day and noting how you used this strength recently

5) Setting an attainable goal each day and noting your progress

6) Reporting a relatively minor stressor each day, then listing ways in which the event can be positively reappraised. This can lead to increased positive affect in the face of stress

7) Understanding small acts of kindness can have a big impact on positive emotion and practicing a small act of kindness each day

Mouse rewarding cat

Acts of Kindness by Peggy

8) Practicing mindfulness with a daily 10-minute breathing exercise, concentrating on the breath

If you want to read the research study here’s the link:

Materials provided by Northwestern University. Original written by Marla Paul




14 comments on “Teaching Happiness is POWERFUL medicine

    • Joyce,
      You are a living testament to how reflecting on all the blessings you’ve received and not dwelling on times of pain creates a life of giving and love.
      So glad you commented to remind us all.
      with love,


  1. A positive event this morning was going to an Asian grocery store to buy produce and saving a ton of money. Produce there is fresh and cheap. I’m grateful there is an Asian store near me. So convenient.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is one of the best articles yet. Very practical and doable advice leading to better overall health. I like that you suggest doing things to make other people feel better and also to make yourself feel better. And the illustrations obviously came from the heart. Acts of kindness need not be altering environmental destruction but maybe making someone else breathe easier.


  3. Great post! Mindfulness and gratitude are great roads to happiness! When we are in the moment and can focus on the positive, we cannot help but be happy. Of course these are “habits” that need to be practiced and repeated over and over do that they become ingrained patterns, stronger than negative behaviors!


    • Peta,
      You said it perfectly. Habitual behavior is indeed the key to it all. Once established a habit is hard to break. I have to remind myself of this when trying to replace my bad habits with healthy ones. Two of my good habits are brushing/flossing/water piking before bed and saying my daily prayers. When I “forget” it doesn’t “feel” right. Two of my bad habits are eating too much and eating too much . . .


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