On Your Health

Check back to the INTEGRIS On Your Health blog for the latest health and wellness information for all Oklahomans, published three times a week.

Think Positive!

Ask one hundred people if they want to find happiness. Chances are you’ll hear a universal “yes” from 100 percent of those folks. Undoubtedly, every one of us wants to be happy. Many people think that happiness is a fleeting, sometimes elusive state that comes over us passively. But did you know that happiness is a choice? And that happiness can be taught? Scientists and researchers say that you should think of happiness as a skill, and that with the right tools, you can train your brain to become happier. In fact, the study of happiness, and how to teach it, is one of the newer approaches to mental health and is a popular, emerging branch of psychology. Doctors and therapists call it “Positive Psychology.” While traditional psychology focuses on treating dysfunction – mental illness and other psychological problems – positive psychology focuses on how to be happier, healthier, and more productive. Some of the themes of positive psychology include: happiness, mindfulness, flow, optimism, resilience, and hopefulness. Dr. Martin Seligman, the “father” of the positive psychology movement, has created various positive psychology exercises to help people live happier. Probably the most effective and best known positive psychology exercise is something called “Three Good Things.” Briefly, in this method, people write down three things that they enjoyed in the previous day, and then they ponder and write a sentence as to why that good thing happened to them. For example, you might write something like, “I had a great lunch date with Susan. Why? Because I enjoy deep conversation and people like to open up to me.” Studies show that this simple positive psychology exercise can increase one’s level of happiness by up to 25%. According to Dr. R. Murali Krishna, MD, President of INTEGRIS Mental Health and President and co-founder of INTEGRIS James L. Hall Jr. Center for Mind, Body & Spirit, “Happy people like themselves. They feel that they have something positive to offer, and they like to know that they are contributing. Being a productive citizen of the world gives us a sense of accomplishment.” Dr. Krishna, a practitioner of positive psychology, offers a series of podcasts called The Art of Happy Living™ to assist people as stepping stones in the journey toward leading happier, healthier lives. Have a listen to his podcasts. He also shares the Live Life Well video series in which he guides viewers through some simple meditation practices that can have profound benefits for physical and emotional health and well-being. You can check those out here. Dr. Krishna is current president of the Oklahoma State Board of Heath and is the founding president/president emeritus of the Health Alliance for the Uninsured (HAU,) a partnership to improve the health care of the uninsured and under-insured in Oklahoma County. He is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (DLFAPA); and Diplomat, American Board of Psychiatry.

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