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Choose Happiness

August 17th, 2010

🙂 Living a happy, resilient and optimistic life is wonderful, and is also good for your health! Being happy actually protects you from the stresses of life. Unfortunately, the news is constantly reminding us that stress is linked to top causes of death such as heart disease, cancer and stroke. (Feeling happy yet?!!?!)

Let’s do a quick reframe! There is good news! Happiness is a choice! As human beings it is important to realize that we have the power to choose happiness! Even if we find ourselves in an unbearable situation, solace can be found in the knowledge that there is a choice as to how we perceive it. That is not to say the situation still isn’t a bad one, just that there is a choice you can make over how it will impact you. And that is great news!

Happiness can be found in everyone, so doesn’t finding a way to amplify that make sense?

To be happy is relatively easy, just decide to be a happy person. Most people for most of the time can choose how happy or stressed, how relaxed or troubled, or how bright or dull their outlook will be, so the choice is simple really—choose to be happy. Not so simple you say? I assure you, it can be with just a little practice! To get you started, I have listed a few easy ways to do just that! 🙂

Being grateful is a great attitude. ♥ We have so much to be thankful for. Thank the taxi driver for bringing you home safely, thank the mailman for bringing you your mail, or thank your friend for listening. I like to find ways throughout the day to thank my children. This not only helps me connect with them in a positive way, but it increases their self esteem and outlook. So it is a real win/win. In fact just today, I noticed my daughter practicing this very same technique on me and let me tell you something, you couldn’t have knocked the smile out of my heart if you tried!!

Listen to the news less often. Some people just can’t start their day without their daily dose of news, but think about it—99% of the news we hear or read is bad news. Starting the day with bad news does not seem to be a sensible thing to do. My friends laugh at me for not watching the news, but guess what, I haven’t missed anything major yet. Believe me, your friends will fill you in on the details. For example, last year I was in Washington, DC on vacation with my family. We were at a Nationals baseball game when word began to spread like wildfire that Michael Jackson was dead. I think I learned of that information within minutes of it happening and I didn’t have my cell phone with me or any other connection to a news source. Believe me, the important news will find you, you don’t need to be a slave to it.

Laugh heartily everyday. ‘Laughter truly is the best medicine’, don’t believe me? Check out this website: LaughterYoga.org. It was created in 1995 by Dr. Madan Kataria, an Indian physician and the founder of Laughter Yoga. There are some terrific articles there on the benefits of laughter. You can also check out that site to see if there are any laughter clubs near you. I teach laughter yoga classes and the difference that it has made in my life and the lives of many of the participants has been nothing less than inspirational. Laughter Clubs are a great way to connect with others and unwind yourself. You can find information about my group on Facebook at Facebook.com/LaughOutloudYoga, as well as hear on this site. I’ve posted some fun links and helpful information about getting yourself happy in both places. But you don’t have to join any special group to start laughing, just do it. I like to start my day off by laughing in the shower. My kids think I am nuts, but that usually just makes me laugh more and they often leave the house with a smile on their faces too!

Express your feelings, affections, friendship and passion to people around you. ♥ They will most likely reciprocate your actions, but keep in mind that is not what this exercise is about. Keeping pent up anger or frustrations is bad for your health. Instead find ways of expressing them in ways that will not cause more injury or hurt to anyone. I have had the wonderful pleasure of working with EFT instructor and abundance coach Carol Look over the years. She has several great techniques that she likes to employ, and one of my favorites is the “Gratitude Walk”. I love the simplicity of this exercise! Not only does it get me outside enjoying the fresh air, but it refocuses my thoughts quickly and easily. As you walk, simply look around and notice the things that you love. “Oh, I just love the crispness of the fall air.” “I love the beautiful flowers.” “I love the way the green leaves on the trees look against the striking blue sky.” etc. As you walk, keep noticing and acknowledging the things you love—this is a really terrific way to reframe your thoughts and get you living in an “attitude of gratitude”.

Find the joy in learning. Try and learn something new everyday. Learning also makes us expand and broaden our horizons, and could give you more opportunities in the future. Reading inspirational work is a terrific way to change your outlook. There are an abundance of books I love, but one you could check out is mine :-)!! It is a short book and a workbook designed to help you discover your purpose, called Dream It. Live It! and it can be purchased right here on this website. I also love listening to inspirational talks and lectures, and the beauty of this it that there are so many ways to do this without even leaving your home. Two of my favorite speakers are Guy Finley and Jennifer McLean. Guy has the most amazing way of simplifying life and helping you find happiness in every moment, and Jennifer produces a series twice a year that will completely inspire and awaken you. Most of these materials are available on cd’s or mp3’s. Throw them in your car, on  your ipod, whatever, wherever. I took my son fishing the other day and while he was busy doing his thing, I sat in a chair behind him, loving the beautiful day and expanding my mind at the same time! Awesome!!! We spend so much time in our cars, driving to and from work, waiting at sports practices, in doctors offices, etc. why not make the best of those moments and grow!

Practice random acts of kindness. There is a beauty and unexpected connection that comes from doing something for no reason. Live in those moments. Help someone and notice the joy in their face when you do. I was circling a parking lot a while back looking for a spot and I noticed an older woman with a heavy package wandering aimlessly. I found a spot near by and hopped over to see if I could help her. She had forgotten where she had parked, and given her height—just shy of 5ft., could barely see over the tops of the other cars to spot hers. She had been wandering for a while, so I took her package, grabbed her hand and had the sweetest conversation as we searched up and down the aisles. She was so grateful, her smile put joy in my heart for the rest of the day! Now I don’t know about you, but I would love to know that my mother, or grandmother lives in a world like that instead of a world where they are trampled, dismissed or ignored for being a bother. And the best part was, it took me less than 5 minutes to make both of our days a little bit brighter and happier.

Get physical. Much like laughing, changing your physical posture can change your outlook. Run, jog, walk and do other things that your body was made for. Feel alive. Start an exercise routine that works for you, even if it is only 30 minutes a day. Research says that the time works cumulatively. So you could do 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there, and before you know it, you’ve got a routine going! So easy, so good for you!

These are just a few easy things you can do everyday to change your happiness barometer. I encourage you to try one or all of them and see if you don’t notice a difference. I know for me, it has made all the difference in the world! Abraham Lincoln once said that, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Make yours up to be happy!! 🙂

Be Well! Be happy! 🙂


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