I was introduced to this TED talk by Shawn Achor from a friend called "The Happy Secret to Better Work" and had to share. I've also read a couple of books recently like "Life is So Good" by George Dawson and "The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World" by Eric Weiner that approach this idea of happiness, but from very different life motivations.
My interest in what ultimately determines our happiness was originally peaked during a visit to an impoverished area of Mexico a few years ago where shantys, piles of trash and bare foot children were a regular sight. The most curious thing was that it didn't seem to be an indicator of happiness (or unhappiness). In this case, it seemed to be the feeling of belonging, the support of family and a true belief that despite what others may say...life is good. The best thing about all of this, just like a warm smile, it is contagious!
Although we often feel as though we have no control over our environment, happiness and well-being is what we make of it. The optimist that I am, I fall all over this type of rhetoric and make my best effort to see the sunny side of things. Especially if I have my hands around a favorite cup of warm tea, the right mix on Pandora, and the realization that what I'm doing makes me happy...and hopefully this spills over into the rest of my day and onward.