Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happiness...How Does it Happen???

Hey all,

Are you happy? Do you wake up each morning with a smile on your face as you get ready to start the day? Do you throw open the door of your house and greet everyone with a smile because you are so excited to see what is in store for you that day?

Or is it just the opposite? Do you open your eyes each morning and wish you could hide under the covers? Are you so scared of what you have to face each day, you don't open yourself up to all the possibilities around you? Would you rather hide in a book or a video game then step out and give life a try?

I think these are questions we should ask ourselves. Why? Because life is too short...too precious to waste a moment of it. Why settle for second best when we can make each second and every breath count!!!

I found several keys to happiness when I was researching one of my stories and I thought I'd jot them down. See what you think.

1. Gratitude.

If you want to be happy today, you must be grateful for what you have right now. It’s that simple. You can’t be happy if you are not satisfied. This doesn’t mean you can’t be striving for more, but you must appreciate and relish the gifts you currently have.

One way to help with that is to write out a list that details what you are grateful for. List everything, no matter how small. Keep the list handy--even pin it up where you can see it every day. Add to it as you think of more.

2. Variety

People have a great need for security, which translates into routine, predictability, safety, reliability, comfort, sameness. At the same time, we also need variety which translates into things being different, random, surprising, new, unpredictable, exciting, scary and more.

The key to variety is to know when and how to use it. Too much and you can overdo...too little and you don't see a difference. But variety can spice up your life and is a great way to add something to your days. But pick and choose when to use it. Adding something different during Grandma's traditional Christmas dinner might not be accepted so readily, but wearing cellophane when you greet your husband as he arrives home for work can be just the thing!

3. People

We all need good people in our lives. I’ve heard it said you need two out of the following three to be happy: good family, good friends, a good mate.

The key is to recognize and focus on the good people in your life. Don't let any psychic vampires suck away your energy, Hang with people who support, love and encourage you. If you don't feel as if you have that in your life, take a close look at those around you. Appreciate the people that do honestly care for you and then cultivate others if you see a hole in your life. Family and friends can be your strength--don't forget that.

4. Meaningful Work

Do you know that an average American works around 1800 hours a year? That's a lot of time to spend on one thing. So do you like your work? Do you feel like it makes a difference? Do you get excited when you tell people what you do for a living? If you don’t, you might want to consider changing what you do. Again, life is too short to be miserable.

If you like what you do, great. Find ways to keep that joy alive. Strive for excellence. Teach others. Find a niche and fill it. If you don’t like what you do, take a risk to daydream about what you really would like to do. Then, think positive and plan out how you can get there. Make a plan of attack and start today!

5. Healthy Lifestyle

Healthy diet, exercise, and play (fun, laughter, and maybe even good sex) are critical to being happy. Your body, mind and spirit all need nourishing. Find a lifestyle that promotes eating healthy, getting daily exercise and just having fun. Don't ever stop learning. It's important to feed your brain. And find something to believe in. Whether it's a religion, a person or a dream, let it fill your spirit and nourish you.

Each and every day take time for these three things. Eat well...try new recipes and keep the ones you love. Exercise...find something different. Do yoga, tai chi or learn how to line dance. And then play. Commit to doing something fun every day as well as a big fun once a week.

Now, one last thing. Something my mama taught me when I was a kid. It's something so very easy, yet something a lot of people struggle with. What is it?


Seriously, laughter releases endorphins with pain-relieving properties similar to morphine. These are thought to be connected to euphoric feelings, appetite modulation, and the release of sex hormones Studies have shown that laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter increases the amount of T-cells and B-cells, which attack viruses and fight disease. Stress hormones are also reduced by laughing, so when you feel better after laughing, you really are happier and healthier.

I've given you some food for thought here, but I know each of us can travel a different road to happiness. Some may enjoy a great movie with friends, while someone else gets that perfect peace by taking a solo walk in the woods. There are as many different ways to find happiness as there are people looking.

So what do you all think? Are you happy? And if so, how did you get that way. What tips for happiness can you give us? Inquiring minds want to know.


Bestiary Parlor: The Musings of a Zoologist Turned Author said...

Thank you for your positive thoughts.
I make sure I'm outdoors in nature at least once a day. Like you I like to play. Laughing is the best mood changer.

CJ England said...

You're right Eva. I love walking alone in the forest. I miss my mountains and often wish I was listening to the pine trees sing!