Happiness is...

Donna Smith, M.A., LPP

Most of us have heard the expression – "Happiness is a state of mind."  But what does that mean?  Deep within the brains lies an area considered to be the "pleasure center."  This was among one of the first areas of the brain to evolve, underscoring the fundamental nature of pleasure as an evolutionary adaptation.  Indeed, Mahatma Gandhi said that "happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony."  Considering this philosophy, it is important to be "mindful" of the many decisions that we make throughout the day that serve to enhance our personal well-being, leading to increased performance of our bodies as well as our brains.

Some of these decisions involve:

  • Eating a variety of healthy foods including fruits and vegetables
  • Getting sufficient sleep at night and rest breaks throughout the day
  • Maintaining an exercise regimen
  • Monitoring signs of potential illnesses, including depression
  • Have routine medical and dental checkups

Generally, taking care of your body, as indicated by the decisions described above, will also be a good way of taking care of your brains.  However, if you experience problems involving forgetfulness, diminished attention and concentration, or lack of motivation, you many want to discuss these symptoms with your primary care physician.  At that time the possibility of a neuropsychological evaluation may be considered, as this comprehensive assessment provides information necessary to determine the presence and/or severity of a variety of disorders, including an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Major Depressive Disorder, as these illnesses may be interfering with your ability to "think" as clearly as possible.    

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