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The Happiness Factor: 5 Ways to Get More of It

We all strive to be "happy and healthy," yet both can be elusive and even subjective. How one person describes their level of happiness might seem snooze-worthy to someone else. So how do we figure out what really makes us happy? And what is happiness anyway?

First, let's start with a simple definition. Happiness is a noun, used to describe 'the state of being happy.' Pretty simple. But if we expand on that definition a bit, we might say that happiness is the feeling that comes over you when you know life is good, and you can't help but smile. It's the opposite of sadness. Happiness is a sense of well-being, joy, or contentment. When people are safe or successful, or lucky, they feel happy.

By maintaining a strong sense of happiness and well-being, you will likely influence others to feel the same way. Simple things such as a smile shared with a stranger can boost your happiness hormones very quickly. 

Here are a few ways you can lift your spirits (and improve your overall health)!

Keep a gratitude journal
Psychologists at UC Davis found that those who kept a regular log of things they were grateful for, had more optimism and experienced greater satisfaction in their lives as compared to those who wrote down only major events or daily hassles. For those that cultivated gratitude, they noticed an improvement of physical symptoms, including runny noses and headaches.

Go on a literature adventure
If time and travel prohibit you from taking your own adventure, you can tag along with someone else's by picking up a good book. In 2012, researchers found that when volunteers simply read about an adventure from another perspective, they experienced less stress, were more satisfied, and more willing to help others.

Look for ways to volunteer
One of the best ways to care for yourself is to care for others. As it turns out, volunteers experience improved psychological health, decreased risk of depression, and higher overall satisfaction with their life. In other words, it makes them happier.

Smile more often
We are born with an instinct to smile. Even babies in the womb have been caught on camera, smiling proudly about whatever babies smile about. 😊 And when we smile, our brains receive a signal, telling them that life is good. So if you want more of the good life, set a goal of smiling genuinely at least 25 times every day. Wearing a fake smile doesn’t count!

Get your hands dirty
It's true. Breathing in the smell of dirt can have a similar effect on the brain to antidepressant drugs. Certain bacteria found in the soil seem to stimulate the release of serotonin in the brain when injected into mice. And in a human test, cancer patients who received this bacteria reported increases in their quality of life as well.

So whether you read an adventure, cultivate the daily practice of gratitude, or smile at every stranger, happiness shouldn't be far behind.

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Patient Testimonials

Dr Don Sharnowski is a doctor who is above and beyond all other doctors! Probably his most outstanding quality is that he LISTENS to what his patients say. He is willing to explain things to his patients in terms they can understand. Dr Don treats his patients with wisdom, understanding, gentleness, care, encouragement and he is willing to "go the extra mile" to give his patients the proper treatment they need. He does not treat patients like they were on an assembly line or like he is rushing them out the door. Dr Don has fixed many of the problems I had at my first visit, one of which I had endured for 3 years. Dr Don was able to fix that problem in 2 weeks when others had not. Dr Don has also helped me loose 40 lbs so far. My total recovery is still an ongoing process, but should be a cinch with Dr Don's expert help! Thank you, Dr Don! You are an awesome answer to prayers!

Karen G.

Super Awesome Doctor in Overland Park, Kansas!! He really knows his stuff love his Holistic approach. Wish I lived closer so I could see him on the regular, at least we can chat on the regular! Very informative in all aspects of health! Five years ago this man took our health and turned it around 360 degrees. My son got ear infections very often. Both my boys have respiratory issues. My husband asthma and overweight. Myself aches and pains, specifically on my left side and joints. Well needless to say no more ear infections respiratory not nearly as often my husband is 80lbs less and never uses his inhaler . My sons ear infections...What ear infections...They are no longer! Thanks Dr. Don for all you do and have done!!

Lots of Love from The Stevens

Dr Don Sharnowski is truly an amazing Doctor. He listens to his patients and treats in a very complete way. He is very knowledgeable because he never stops learning. He is a great communicator and will help you learn better ways to be healthy if you will actually do what he teaches.

Cassie N.

Don (Dr Sharnowski) is truly one of a kind. He is warm, inviting and incredibly generous with his time, but also really knowledgeable about the body and everything within. You won't find crystal balls here. You'll find a super nice guy in sneakers who also sells farm fresh eggs at the counter. I went in expecting to get adjusted (and was scared, because I'd never seen a chiro before). Instead, what I experienced was someone who actually sat down and listened to my history, connected the dots between several ailments (instead of jumping to prescribe one drug apiece to treat each one), and explained things that no one had ever taken the time to do. I was there about my back specifically, but we talked about my whole health. Instead of just prescribing an anti inflammatory (which is what my other doc did), he explained why we get inflammation in our bodies, and how to help reduce it with what we eat. I've also been on thyroid medication for over 10 years, and he actually explained what the thyroid is, and what the drug I take is, and what it does. But not in a defensive or overly crunchy way. He just openly explained in a way that I could understand it. I highly recommend Don to anyone with a body who wants to feel better. His approach is approachably holistic. Just common sense, whole body-centered treatment.

Megh K.

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