On the path to finding happinessBy Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/happiness/MY00158
- With Mayo Clinic oncologist
Edward T. Creagan, M.D.read biographyclose window
Edward T. Creagan, M.D.Edward Creagan, M.D.
"The magic of the electronic village is transforming health information. The mouse and keyboard have extended the stethoscope to the 500 million people now online." — Dr. Edward Creagan
The power of the medium inspires Dr. Edward Creagan as he searches for ways to share Mayo Clinic's vast resources with the general public.
Dr. Creagan, a Newark, N.J., native, is board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology, and hospice medicine and palliative care. He has been with Mayo Clinic since 1973 and in 1999 was president of the staff of Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Creagan, a professor of medical oncology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, was honored in 1995 with the John and Roma Rouse Professor of Humanism in Medicine Award and in 1992 with the Distinguished Mayo Clinician Award, Mayo's highest recognition. He has been recognized with the American Cancer Society Professorship of Clinical Oncology.
He describes his areas of special interest as "wellness as a bio-psycho-social-spiritual-financial model" and fitness, mind-body connection, aging and burnout.
Dr. Creagan has been an associate medical editor with Mayo Clinic's health information websites and has edited publications and CD-ROMs and reviewed articles.
"We the team of (the website) provide reliable, easy-to-understand health and wellness information so that each of us can have productive, meaningful lives," he says.
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July 18, 2008
On the path to finding happiness
By Edward T. Creagan, M.D.
There is real merit in disengaging from our environment if at all possible; taking a few days respite away from the stress of the places in which we live and work to nurture a new perspective.
On a recent trip to visit family, we had a marvelous experience of a leisurely several hours in a small bookstore nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. What a gift!
OK, I will admit it. I went to the health and wellness section and was skimming books on happiness — an elusive goal that all humans seek. Let me share a quick overview of a textbook from California based on years of solid research among "happy people."
The studies focused on identical twins that were separated at birth. Obviously, this is a natural experiment and here was the take-home message after approximately 600 pages:
- About 50 percent of our happiness is genetically determined. We have a "happiness set point" from 0 to 10 which is driven by our DNA, our genetic endowment from our parents. Whether we win or lose the lottery, whether we get married or divorced, whether we have fame and fortune, or embarrassment and ridicule, we will eventually return to that set point.
However, there were two startling findings.
- About 40 percent of our happiness is directly determined by how we relate to setbacks, a recurrent theme in our blog. It is not the setbacks that kill us; it is how we relate to them.
- Only 10 percent of our happiness according to this particular textbook is directly related to the environment. Whether we drove a $100,000 car or a $350 car, whether we lived in a condo off of Central Park in New York City or in a shack in an urban ghetto, or whether we made a lot of money or little money, these environmental factors had virtually nothing to do with our happiness.
So, a message that I took from a wonderful afternoon in a bookstore was real simple:
Our attitude determines our happiness (no big surprise), and where we live and what we do contribute very little to our happiness.
For those "happy people" out there in cyberland, please share with us seekers of happiness one or two tips, tactics or perspectives that we can use as we seek the elusive goal of the happy camper.blog index