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5 Ways to be Happy Today

By • Apr 13th, 2008 • Category: Lead Article, Lifestyle Choices, Personal Development

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“Happiness is not a point of arrival. Happiness is the way. “
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

  Is this you?

      “I’ll be happy when I get married.”

     “When I clear my credit card bill, then I’ll be happy.”

     “Happiness is owning my own home.” 

      “I will never be happy as long as that person is working in my department.”

Are you putting off your happiness waiting for a particular thing, person or situation? If “I’ll be happy when…” precedes your thoughts and conversations about your life, you’re living in the future and not in the present. You are depriving yourself of the happiness that is around you, today. 

You don’t have to wait for any one acquisition, event or person to be happy. Besides, none of these things or any other you can imagine comes with that guarantee. Tomorrow’s happiness is for tomorrow. You should be happy today.

The media bombards us with the message that this or that product will make us look years younger, live pain-free and slim. They entice us with places to find the perfect mate and schemes to get-rich-quick. I suppose that is their prerogative. The sad part is that we buy into the hoopla. We lap up the fallacy and lose ourselves in the fantasy that something or someone is going to make us happy – a new job, more money, a better relationship, a baby or a home.

And so, we wait.

It is normal to want to improve our lives. Still, postponing our happiness until we achieve the changes we want, makes for a life of frustrated impatience. Even worse, is that sometimes, the further along we go, the further away the happiness moves. Happiness can be illusive when we link it to a particular future goal. More importantly, when we keep our eyes peeled on the horizon, often, we miss the happiness imbedded in every day.

Here are four ways to be happy while you wait for the ultimate acquisition, the love of your life or the ideal circumstance?

Adjust your attitude

A disgruntled and complaining attitude is one sure way to deprive yourself of the smallest measure of happiness every day. You could be bypassing happy moments when every thought in your mind and every word you speak is a stark portrayal of your bad attitude towards people you live and work with and encounter during your day.

Your actions can sometimes generate a change in attitude. Small gestures of kindness, compassion and courtesy, for example, go a long way in creating a more pleasant attitude, which in turn fosters a countenance.   

Dismantle self-imposed barriers

You might be your own worse enemy, if you have erected barriers to protect yourself, but instead, they have now become barricades that keep happiness at bay.

Self-imposed stumbling blocks are sometimes more difficult to dismantle and remove. But just as a construction worker will hammer at a wall until it crumbles, so too, you must keep pounding on the barriers in your life. Once they shatter, the way will be clear for you to seek out and embrace the happiness that’s just on the other side.

Count your blessings

When we focus on what is lacking in your life, it is easy to believe that we “have it hard” and our happiness lies somewhere in the distant future.  A regular practice of counting our blessings generates feelings of gratitude, happiness and a brighter, more positive outlook on life despite its troubles.

Have you taken for granted the many blessings God has bestowed on you? Are they so commonplace now that you no longer recognize them or give Him thanks for them? It’s time, once again to revisit your blessings and experience how they engender a new perspective on being happy every day.  

Learn to be content

The desire for more, faster, and bigger raises our level of satisfaction, and leaves us discontent with our lives as it is today. Acknowledging and being thankful for what we have sets the stage for our hearts to be content.

Do you see your glass as half-full or half-empty? Re-examine your life and your possessions. Don’t you have reasons to be content? Aren’t there people who are living and happy with far less than you have? Shift your focus away from what you don’t have and be content for all that is already in your life and helping you to function at a comfortable level.

Recognize today that this and that thing, person or situation makes it possible for you to live, work and enjoy some leisurely pursuits. Despite the negativity that may be raging around you, you can learn to be content.   

Get involved

We waste our time, energy and God-given talents when we stand on the sidelines waiting for something to come along with happiness in tow. It is tantamount to a slap in God’s face.

Use your time, your energy and the talents He has given you to share, give and love wholeheartedly.

Welcome opportunities to make a positive impact in someone’s life. You can derive deep satisfaction and experience profound joy when you get involved in church and community activities.

Each day has its own troubles and challenges but it also brings with it reasons and opportunities to be happy. Happiness doesn’t reside at some distant address, but rather it travels with you as you meander your way through life. You can find it in the journey itself. 

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