In many ways, happiness is a life-long pursuit. That doesn’t mean it’s an endless or fruitless pursuit, but it does take effort. Each day, we have a choice: we can either choose to be happy and positive or, we can choose to be negative…and negativity always equals unhappiness.
Having a sustaining happiness is something we have to put some effort into. Overall, we can have a sense of happiness in our lives, which is a blessing, but you can’t take it for granted. To have long-lasting deep happiness, we need to be mindful and in the moment, making sure we’re acutely conscious of the things, people and environment that brings us that deep-seated happiness.
When you awake each day, make the conscious decision to have a good day — determine to be happy, to look for the positive in life and to cherish all the beauty that surrounds you.
Deciding to focus on the good isn’t always easy, but fortunately, there are simple things we can do that have been proven to help.
These activities do require some effort, but that minimal investment of time pays huge dividends that will reward you through life.
1. Plan Your Morning Attitude the Night Before
When you go to bed each night, make it a habit to review your day. Don’t dwell on it or stress over it, but simply review it in your mind (or better yet, in a journal). Make it a point to address anything negative or stressful, but be resolute to let it go — don’t dwell or re-hash it. Then reflect on the good things you experienced during the day — What beauty did you see? What made you smile? Finally, mentally prepare yourself for the next day — read some positive affirmations if it helps. But mostly, tell yourself as you’re about to go to sleep that you will wake refreshed and excited for the new day. The goal is to close out your day and focus your mind in on the positive.
Try these affirmations to start off, or better yet, create your own:
- To be positive is to be productive.
- I am feeling healthy and strong today.
- I have the courage to make this a great day.
- I choose to see the best side of life and I choose to be happy.
- No negative thought will take root in my mind.
- I am loved, loving and lovable.
And for our Christian readers, try this prayer:
“I place this day, my life, my loved ones, my work in the Lord’s hands. There is no harm in the Lord’s hands, only good. Whatever happens, whatever results, if I am in the Lord’s hands it is the Lord’s will and it is good.”
― Norman Vincent Peale
2. Awake With Excitement
Make it a habit to wake up each morning and immediately focus-in on the positive. Immediately say to yourself “today is a fresh new day and I’m going to make it a great day!” Don’t dismiss this strategy as pish-posh, because it really works. The more you do this, the more it becomes ingrained in you and you’ll find that if you commit to happiness and positivity with a sense of excitement each morning, it will unfold before you in ways you never before noticed.
3. Show Gratitude
People take too much for granted and this causes a fracture in our happiness. Keeping a gratitude journal is increasingly popular because people recognize that being grateful provides an immediate infusion of positivity. Take the time to reflect on, or write down, 3-5 things that you’re grateful for. Counting blessings genuinely intensifies feelings of happiness and contentment. In fact, telling someone you’re thankful for their love or friendship is especially beneficial, because you’re showing love and gratitude to another soul and in doing so, you’re brightening their day too.
4. Share Love
Family and social connections are crucial to our happiness. Learn to not be afraid to say “I love you” to someone. Tell your family and friends that you appreciate them. Haven’t spoken to that long-lost friend in a while? Consider reaching out to them. Make it a point to spend time with people you love and the aura that’s generated from those connections will inspire you, reassure you and, create genuine happiness.
5. Let it Go
Life isn’t perfect and neither are we. Cut yourself some slack. Just like closing out your day, limit your consternation about the future — we can’t relive yesterday and we certainly can’t live tomorrow until it comes. Relax and don’t bite off more than you can chew. Look at the future with hope and excitement, but don’t let it frighten you. A journal, for gratitude and other thoughts you have, is a great way to clear your mind. Worried about something? Write it out: What it is that is worrying you? Why? Can you do anything about it? Get what’s stuck in your head out onto paper — once those worries are exposed to the light, they tend to diminish quickly and you can focus on the positive.
Being ‘happyish’ is one thing. Being a genuinely happy and positive person inside and out, does take some effort. Try these strategies — the key is to make the conscious decision to be happy each and every day.