At times life goes along and everything is easy. Happiness is easy to attain. But then life can become complicated; something happens to take away our happiness. Life can become a roller coaster of ups and downs where our moods respond to the circumstances. Or, we can learn the keys to staying happy no matter the circumstances, or at least learn to bounce back quicker.
So what are the keys to happiness? Research shows that happy people do things differently than unhappy people. These are the keys to becoming and staying happy.
- The first and possibly the most important key is an attitude of gratitude. What are you focusing on? Is your attention on what you do have or what you do not have? It can be so easy to focus on the problems in life that you forget all the good. I have noticed a tendency in people to either spend time thinking about the past or wishing for the future. Now it is great to remember the good times in the past and to dream about the future. This can make you feel good and is fun to do. Be careful though to keep these thoughts positive. Don’t wait to be happy when…. Be happy now! Now is all we really have so don’t waste it. Savor life’s little pleasures and live in the moment as much as you can. I have found that creating an appreciation journal is very helpful. Spend some time daily writing down all the things you have to be grateful for. It really goes a long way in creating happiness.
- Happy people spend time nurturing relationships with family and friends. They do not isolate themselves but have meaningful relationships in their lives and make those relationships a priority. Schedule some quality time with the people you enjoy. Make sure this is fun time though and limit the time you spend talking about what is bothering you. Use this time to enjoy the now and to add to your attitude of gratitude.
- This next one is the hardest one for me but probably the most important, avoid over thinking. I was raised by a wonderful loving Grandmother who was a worrier. So I have a tendency to over think things and worry. I have to work hard sometimes to cut loose from ruminating thoughts. This usually means I need to form a plan of action to solve whatever part of the problem I have control over as soon as possible. This solution does not have to be a permanent one and I can always revisit it and make changes later on. Sometimes, the only solution is to go through the difficult time and realize it will eventually come to an end. Accepting what is can be beneficial. Then go back to remembering all you have to be grateful for.
- The last key to happiness is to smile more! Practice optimism in life. This is easier for some personality types than others but it is a practice that happy people have mastered. Try it. What do you have to lose? Go out with a smile on your face, even if you do not feel like smiling. Be purposeful in smiling at others and being nice to them. Make someone else feel good and see what it does to your mood.
How you feel and what thoughts you think as you go about your day get translated into all areas of your life. They affect your mood, your health and ultimately your relationships. The happier you become the healthier you are emotionally and physically. Start putting these ideas into practice today and see how you feel.
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Lori Ann Davis, MA, CRS
Certified Relationship Specialist