Photo courtesy of Flickr, under creative commons license

Photo courtesy of Flickr, under creative commons license

Happiness Belongs to Everyone

I spent many years under the impression that happiness was merely a response to favorable conditions. I had no idea I controlled my happiness, let alone that I could habituate it.

Learning this was a game-changer for me. But once I learned this, I had very little idea as to how I could make it happen. It became apparent that being happy was actually a skill, one that needed practice.

Over time, I’ve picked up a few methods that helped me sustain my attitude despite external factors.

Touchstones

Touchstones don’t have to be tangible, as the word suggests. For example, I use birds as a touchstone, and whenever I see a bird—and they’re fairly ubiquitous—I remind myself that I live in a free world.

Touchstones can be tangible as well. I have a quilt that I curl up with when I’m relaxing at home. It has a satin trim. My little nephew used to call such a thing, “best corners.” When I touch the border, it reminds me of my cute, little nephew and his affection for the soft material. I also enjoy the sensation of it as well.

This gives me easy access to happiness.

Don’t procrastinate

If you are a chronic procrastinator, stop right now. It creates dread. Sometimes, this means creating departure times at home so you have a time to leave.

Once that time arrives, go! It’s like pulling off a band-aid. Faster is better.

Commit to it

For whatever reason, being unhappy is often a badge of honor: “Ignorance is bliss,” or How can you be happy with so much suffering in the world? It’s as if we’re proud of being miserable.

It’s somehow smarter or more informed.

But, what I also figured out is that you’ll never suffer enough to make someone who is suffering happy. And isn’t it ironic that you don’t want to be happy because others aren’t, and you want them to be? Show the way. Be happy.

Celebrate every chance you get

Photo courtesy of Flickr, under creative commons license

Photo courtesy of Flickr, under creative commons license

The way our brains work is through associative memory. When you celebrate actively, your brain develops the neural-nets that associate with that joy, and your brain creates a pathway for happy hormones to cascade through your body.

The more you celebrate, the more those pathways are paved and the easier it is to access positive feelings.

Let things go

Photo courtesy of Flickr, under creative commons license

Photo courtesy of Flickr, under creative commons license

Let it go! Let it go! When you hear bad news, don’t dwell on it.

Like my aunt says, “It’s okay for a bird to land on your head, but it’s not okay to let it build a nest.” Acknowledge tragedy. You don’t have to become oblivious. But you don’t have to roll around in it either.

Avoid inundating yourself in bad news

Watching hours of news can be depressing. Within news organizations, there is a concept that if it bleeds it leads. Therefore, you rarely get endless reports of good deeds and positive reports.

It’s how the news is constructed. But if you watch long enough, it begins to look like there is nothing but problems in the world.

This isn’t true, but there is a lack of coverage of the good news.

See also at Jerry Mooney Books

See also at Jerry Mooney Books