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      Whatever makes you happy!

      COLUMBIA (WACH) - The first day of Spring often symbolizes freshness, light, warmth and rebirth. This year we have another reason to feel those delicious sensations of pleasure... it's the first International Day of Happiness .

      The General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed this day, recognizing the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals in the lives of human beings around the world. At long last, we celebrate the things in life that simply make us feel good.

      The science of happiness started to take off a little more than a decade ago, as researchers began to dive into the causes of chemical changes that produce feelings of fulfillment. It's been proven that people who consider themselves happy have better health, longer lives, stronger relationships, sucessfull careers and overall better mental health.

      There are many ways to get the positive juices flowing, and by juices I mean dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Reasearchers at Cornell University with grants from the National Institute of Mental Health have been doing studies on these hormones and their effects on personality traits and short term memory. They discovered a direct link between neurotransmitters and human emotional response as well as cognitive functionality. That's a smarty-pants way of saying that happy and healthy go hand-in-hand, but you don't need to be a rocket surgeon to get the gist.

      Even something as small as imagery can have an impact on your chemical responses. Watch this and notice how it makes you feel. How about this one ? OK, and I know this is kind of wrong, but whenever I'm having a bad day, this video always makes me laugh.

      On REALLY bad days, I watch this girl enjoying the same video . That usually does the trick. I mean, it's kinda hard to be grumpy after that, right? What a great example of how one person's joy can have a ripple effect.

      Also, check out my favorite documentary The Happy Movie. It's a study on the causes and effects of global happiness, which I write about in more detail in this week's movie review. I highly suggest this film for your whole family, as it offers simple examples of lifestyle choices that put a high priority on inner peace. Judy Garland , Bob Marley , The Quebec Celebration Gospel Choir , and even Ren & Stimpy gave us easy ways to sing a happy song. Sing it. Sing it loud!

      If you'd like to be a part of this action for happiness, you can start by making a pledge to create more happiness in your world. You can get inspiration from "Happy Heros" and cheer on the positive people in your life. Take part by finding your bliss and bringing all that positive energy with you throughout the day. Rollerskate! Give compliments! Share a meal! Enjoy a book ... or write a book! The possibilities are endless and it's all about YOU.

      It's Spring. Live a little. Be the joy! Your happiness means the world, literally.

      "Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called. ~A.A. Milne