My Merry Christmas Wish of Living Outside of Yourself

On our long drive to Utah, I read an article in Outside magazine, “The Pursuit of Happiness–launch the year with these simple, life-improving tips.” It. Was. Awesome. (Read the full article here). One of my favorite excerpts:

“In a 2013 study, researchers at UCLA and the University of North Carolina reported that happiness levels have powerful effects on genes and our health. But there was a catch: the specific kind of happiness mattered a lot. The unselfishly happy, whose feelings of well-being involved a deep sense of purpose in life, had a strong expression of antiviral and antibody genes.”
“Happy hedonists, meanwhile, wrapped up in materialistic pleasures, had weaker immune systems, resulting in inflammation that can lead to cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. ‘Even pleasures that seem virtuous, like looking at a sunset, can be hedonic, because they involve one’s own emotional gratification,’ explains UCLA professor of medicine Steven Cole, the senior author of the study. ‘The real distinction is whether your happiness is tied into purpose and meaning outside yourself.’”

Bottom line: like so many things, how happy you are comes down to how you choose to live your life.

One of my favorite days of the year is the Christmas program the Sunday before church. We attended Jamie’s parent’s ward and I loved the humble, inspiring messages on Mary, Joseph and Jesus. As I set there looking around at this room of strangers, I just felt happy and grateful for everything the gospel of Jesus Christmas has brought to my life.

I mentally listed out all the things the LDS Church is teaching my children: Gospel principals. Morality. Honesty. Service to each other and in our community.  Goal setting. Public speaking. Leadership. Friendship. Eternal families. The worth of a soul. The purpose of life.

This Christmas, I am grateful to the many, many people, places and things that are teaching me to live a life with meaning outside of myself.

Merry Christmas!


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