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The Glee Factor

We all want good MPG (miles per gallon) for our cars; increased RAM (random access memory) for our computers; we want to lower our LDL (bad cholesterol) and raise our HDL (good cholesterol). We know it's good to achieve MHR (maximum heart rate) when exercising, but not for too long and so we look to our THR (target heart rate) to balance things out. At night we hope to get enough REM (rapid eye movement) to sleep deeply. But scientists have yet to discover the GPD (glee per day) measurement for healthy living.

Glee is the state of deep delight in which a person, depending on the personality, begins to grin broadly, giggle, toss something jubilantly into the air, sing, skip, whistle, or beam. Due to its intensity, glee has been found to effect the emotions much like a post workout calorie burn — ten seconds of pure glee, for example, can dispel one hour of worry.

The Glee Factor was first discovered seven years ago by my daughter, then an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, when she found in a store a tiny glass-blown sheep (no bigger than one quarter inch tall) with a wry half smile. This sheep was a riot, and Jean began to laugh beyond normal laughter. I bought it for her, laughing, too. Jean named the sheep Glee. It has never failed to produce concentrated cheer.

The Glee Factor is not restricted to miniscule glass sheep, but it does require an awareness of the gleeful things around you. Try to have at least one moment of glee each day (more if you're feeling out of sorts) and remember to write it down. As you do, your GPD numbers will rise and you might find that you are tossing things merrily into the air at will. If this happens to you, you are duty bound to spread the word. For anything that can turn glumness into guffaws and discouragement into delight must be shared with others.