You know those days when you have that skip in your step? When you feel like no matter what might happen, everything is going to work out? When you have that feeling that you could conquer a small continent if you so desired?

You know those days when you have that skip in your step? When you feel like no matter what might happen, everything is going to work out? When you have that feeling that you could conquer a small continent if you so desired?


Some call it confidence, I call it happiness. It’s been a key ingredient for me to refocus my strengths and adjust accordingly to the challenges life puts in front of me. It’s an emotion that’s not caused by money or a career or a meaningful relationship, although these things certainly help. It turns out there’s scientific evidence that these things actually don’t add much to our overall happiness.


Yahoo produced an article titled "The simplest way to get – and stay—happy, according to psychologists," which shows that most people inherit their happiness from their parents. The article suggested 30 to as much as 80 percent of our happiness is dictated by our genes. This is surprising to me, since to be perfectly honest my family does not have a history of high happiness levels, and I consider myself a happy person.


The article goes on to list ways people improve their overall levels of happiness, as well as their mental well-being in the long run, which I think are what make me so positive.


Two of the items on this list were involvement in cultural activities and going outside. Cultural activities can include going to a play, a book club or sports. I enjoy all of these things, but I find playing outdoor sports is killing two birds with a single stone. This is my second summer playing ultimate Frisbee on a consistent basis, and our little group has grown from about 14 players to well over 30 on some weeks. I firmly believe "athlete" is too strong of a term to describe my level of Frisbee talent, but I believe I’m a much stronger player than I was at the start of last summer. And that makes me happy.


In fact, I’ve noticed my average-happiness days are made much better after spending time with other human beings running around outdoors and doing something together, whether it’s competing in Frisbee or water volleyball, or simply getting together for a picnic. Being a part of something bigger than yourself definitely contributes to an attitude improvement.


The article concludes, "If you’re looking to get a mood boost that’ll last you in the long-term, focus on your state of mind in the present, be grateful for what you have, and stop to enjoy it! You’ll thank yourself a few minutes — or a few years — down the road."


And I sure am.



Happy birthday to Garlyn Bevels of Woodworth, La.; Jamila Braxton and Diane Winters, both of Denison; Maureen Kane Stevenson; Cheyanna Amrhein, Evelyne Charsk and Chadwick Jones, all of Sherman; Robert McMurdo Gillespie; Sylvia Taylor Finch of Phoenix, Ariz.; and Rebecca Johnston Connell of Roseville, California.


Happy anniversary to Glenn and Cyndy Hancock of Denison, 38 years; Billy and Barbara Holloway of Pottsboro.