Monday, April 15, 2013

Habits for Happiness

Hi Friends,

I ran across this article from Mind Openerz through a Facebook link.  As someone who chooses to be happy (and I do believe it's a choice, every single day), I thought there was a lot of wisdom in this article.   I've copied the article below and added my own thoughts at the end of each suggestion.  I'd love to know what you think.  
1. Appreciate Life:  Be thankful that you woke up alive each morning. Develop a childlike sense of wonder towards life. Focus on the beauty of every living thing. Make the most of each day. Don’t take anything for granted. Don’t sweat the small stuff.  I especially like the last three sentences.  I'm not sure I possess a "childlike sense of wonder towards life..."
2. Choose Friends Wisely:  Surround yourself with happy, positive people who share your values and goals. Friends that have the same ethics as you will encourage you to achieve your dreams. They help you to feel good about yourself. They are there to lend a helping hand when needed.  I absolutely believe in the importance of this.  I like who I am when I with my friends.  I tend to weed out the ones who make me feel yucky.  I just don't have time for that anymore.
3. Be Considerate:  Accept others for who they are as well as where they are in life. Respect them for who they are. Touch them with a kind and generous spirit. Help when you are able, without trying to change the other person. Try to brighten the day of everyone you come into contact with.  Yes!!  Be nice to the checker at WalMart.  Talk to the old man at the Y.
4. Learn Continuously:  Keep up to date with the latest news regarding your career and hobbies. Try new and daring things that has sparked your interest – such as dancing, skiing, surfing or sky-diving.  Hmm...I think my sky-diving days are behind me.  But I did take a photography class this year...
5. Creative Problem Solving:  Don’t wallow in self-pity. As soon as you face a challenge get busy finding a solution. Don’t let the set backs affect your mood, instead see each new obstacle you face as an opportunity to make a positive change. Learn to trust your gut instincts – it’s almost always right.  
6. Do What They Love:  Some statistics show that 80% of people dislike their jobs! No wonder there’s so many unhappy people running around. We spend a great deal of our life working. Choose a career that you enjoy – the extra money of a job you detest isn’t worth it. Make time to enjoy your hobbies and pursue special interests.  I love my job.  Love it.
7. Enjoy Life:  Take the time to see the beauty around you. There’s more to life than work. Take time to smell the roses, watch a sunset or sunrise with a loved one, take a walk along the seashore, hike in the woods etc. Learn to live in the present moment and cherish it. Don’t live in the past or the future.  My pastor is doing a series on this very topic {past (regret) and future (worry)} this month.  I'm working on it.
8. Laugh:  Don’t take yourself – or life to seriously. You can find humor in just about any situation. Laugh at yourself – no one’s perfect. When appropriate laugh and make light of the circumstances. (Naturally there are times that you should be serious as it would be improper to laugh.)  Oh, gosh.  I laugh at myself all the time.  I am completely ridiculous.
9. Forgive:  Holding a grudge will hurt no one but you. Forgive others for your own peace of mind. When you make a mistake – own up to it – learn from it – and FORGIVE yourself.  Working on this...
10. Gratitude:  Develop an attitude of gratitude. Count your blessings; All of them – even the things that seem trivial. Be grateful for your home, your work and most importantly your family and friends. Take the time to tell them that you are happy they are in your life.  I think I'm pretty good at this...
11. Invest in Relationships:  Always make sure your loved ones know you love them even in times of conflict. Nurture and grow your relationships with your family and friends by making the time to spend with them. Don’t break your promises to them. Be supportive.  I think I'm pretty good at this, too...
12. Keep Their Word:  Honesty is the best policy. Every action and decision you make should be based on honesty. Be honest with yourself and with your loved ones.  I try very hard to do this...
13. MeditateMeditation gives your very active brain a rest. When it’s rested you will have more energy and function at a higher level. Types of meditation include yoga, hypnosis, relaxation tapes, affirmations, visualization or just sitting in complete silence. Find something you enjoy and make the time to practice daily.  I don't do this, but I do pray, which helps me in the same ways and tends to work better (for me at least).
14. Mind Their Own Business:  Concentrate on creating your life the way you want it. Take care of you and your family. Don’t get overly concerned with what other people are doing or saying. Don’t get caught up with gossip or name calling. Don’t judge. Everyone has a right to live their own life the way they want to – including you.  I try to do this.  I just can't handle other people's useless drama anymore.  
15. Optimism:  See the glass as half full. Find the positive side of any given situation. It’s there – even though it may be hard to find. Know that everything happens for a reason, even though you may never know what the reason is. Steer clear of negative thoughts. If a negative thought creeps in – replace it with a positive thought.  I try to do this.
16. Love Unconditionally:  Accept others for who they are. You don’t put limitations on your love. Even though you may not always like the actions of your loved ones – you continue to love them.  I try to do this.
17. Persistence:  Never give up. Face each new challenge with the attitude that it will bring you one step closer to your goal. You will never fail, as long as you never give up. Focus on what you want, learn the required skills, make a plan to succeed and take action. We are always happiest while pursuing something of value to us.  I could probably use some work in this area.
18. Be Proactive:  Accept what cannot be changed. Happy people don’t waste energy on circumstances beyond their control. Accept your limitations as a human being. Determine how you can take control by creating the outcome you desire – rather than waiting to respond.  Still working on this.
19. Self Care:  Take care of your mind, body and health. Get regular medical checkups. Eat healthy and work out. Get plenty of rest. Drink lots of water. Exercise your mind by continually energizing it with interesting and exciting challenges.  Working on this every day.
20. Self Confidence:  Don’t try to be someone that you’re not. After all no one likes a phony. Determine who you are in the inside – your own personal likes and dislikes. Be confident in who you are. Do the best you can and don’t second guess yourself.  Working on this.
21. Take Responsibility:  Happy people know and understand that they are 100% responsible for their life. They take responsibility for their moods, attitude, thoughts, feelings, actions and words. They are the first to admit when they’ve made a mistake.  I try to do this.

So what do you think?  Are there areas you're especially good at?



PS  I read almost all of the 99 comments written on the original post.  Quite a few of them were written by readers who were angry because they thought the author was somehow implying that people who are clinically depressed are just not trying hard enough to be happy.  I didn't read the article that way at all.  Clinical depression is a serious illness and needs to be treated medically;  it has nothing to do with just willing yourself to be happy.  I think the author of this article was addressing these 21 suggestions to those who simply choose to be unhappy.  If you're healthy and you're still choosing to be unhappy, these suggestions might help.  If you are clinically depressed, I urge you to seek medical attention.

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