Daily Editors' Notes

Happy February

Share this article:
Elizabeth Newman, McKnight's Senior Editor
Elizabeth Newman, McKnight's Senior Editor

February seems like an appropriate month to ask the fundamental question: What does it take to be happy?

For one, many of you are either still digging out of snow or drudging through the gray days in a season filled with cold and slush. Or if you're single, you may find the plethora of hearts and candy that surrounds you this week enough to induce gagging. (You may find this to be true even if you are happily married).

Here's the good news for those looking for a mood boost: It turns out that when you give a senior some of that candy, or a nice note, you may be helping their brain.

A new study in Cognition and Emotion involved researchers inducing a group of seniors into a positive mood by giving them small bags of candy tied with a red ribbon. The other group of seniors did not receive anything. The positive mood group also faced a computer screen with smiling suns; the neutral group only saw round images.

Surprise: The seniors put into a positive mood did better on a decision-making test and a working-memory test.

It's also worth remembering that a 2008 study discovered happiness is contagious.

The fundamental result of that British Medical Journal study was that people who are surrounded by happy people are likely to become happy in the future.

Researchers also found live-in partners who become happy increase the likelihood of their partner being happy by 8%, and similar effects were seen for siblings who live nearby.

What does this all mean for those of you finding it difficult to be happy? Buy some candy; give it to your residents or coworkers (especially if you are dumping paperwork on the latter group). Spend time with your partner doing something fun, or go visit your sister. Remember that, as tough as your jobs can be, you are providing a valuable service to your community.

You also can start a happiness group, per Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project.

Have other ideas? Please share them below.

Share this article:
close

Next Article in Daily Editors' Notes

Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editor's Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor on Monday and Friday; Staff Writer Tim Mullaney on Tuesday, Editor James M. Berklan on Wednesday and Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman on Thursday.

    ALL MCKNIGHT'S BLOGS

    More in Daily Editors' Notes

    Finally, a Medicaid funding plan that actually makes sense

    Finally, a Medicaid funding plan that actually makes ...

    When politicians talk about Medicaid funding and nursing homes these days, an unsettling theme often emerges: the need to spend less of the former on the latter.

    What are the scouts saying about your long-term care organization?

    What are the scouts saying about your long-term ...

    There is no draft in senior living, nor really a need for one. But what if its three most dominant players were to be sized up? How might the scouts ...

    Butler County should take the addicts

    Butler County should take the addicts

    It's not a secret most county nursing homes are hemorrhaging money. That's why I was intrigued by a Butler County (OH) proposal to allow heroin addicts to stay short-term in ...