Happiness: To be or not to be

Ready for a bombshell, folks? Strap on your seat belts. I believe happiness is a choice AND something you can experience each day of your life. Yes, you read that correctly. I do not believe you stumble upon happiness, it is a pure coincidence, and only for the lucky, chosen few. Let’s dive right in.

How do you find happiness exactly? Let me give you an example that can be applied almost immediately. Go outside. It’s that simple. Go outside and then take a long, deep breath. What do you notice? Use your senses. Is it eerily quiet because it is in the evening? Is it sunny and (if you live in the South) pretty humid at this time of year? What thoughts are going through your mind? Try to slow your thoughts down as you notice your surroundings. If you can, sit a spell and close your eyes. Imagine a pleasant place you wish you could go to that brings you a deep, abiding peace. Now comes the fun part.

We all talk to ourselves. If you have a mean inner critic, silence it. Talk to yourself about the upcoming days’ events and the positive aspects. Leave out the mounds of stress about work just for a moment. If you are going to spend time with loved ones, “pre-celebrate” the upcoming event mindfully and be grateful for the people with whom you will spend time. The more you positively talk to yourself, do you believe over time your outward voice will take on a more pleasant, happier tone? To your significant other/spouse? Perhaps your children? Other persons you love and care about?

If you do have children, reflect on the last few interactions you have had with them. Have they tested your patience? If you have put into practice the strategies mentioned above do you think you would have lost your patience so quickly with he or she? Being understanding, loving, extending forgiveness, practicing patience and kindness-are these not some of the pillars of not just good character but monumental to having a good family life?

So, dear reader, I leave you with this challenge. Speak to yourself first with kindness and understand that you will undergo successes and lessons. So, too, will your loved ones and friends. So, when you go outside tomorrow, may you be filled with a deep and abiding peace.

Until we meet again.

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