1. Understand that sustained happiness rarely comes from outside circumstances. Your wealth, beauty, power, or acquisitions have far less to do with happiness than your appreciation for what you have this very moment and your loving relationships with others.
2. You can live your life by design, but you must acknowledge your power in that, plan for it, and take the necessary actions.
3. You can’t have it all, but you can have enough to be very happy. Prioritize and focus on the top 3 or 4 most important areas of your life.
4. Stop focusing on what you don’t have or don’t like. Focus on what you do have and do like, and create a plan for what you think you can improve and change.
5. Abandon perfectionism. It is a useless pursuit with no end. It creates stress and unhappiness. Learn to find the balance point between good enough and peaceful living.
6. Put your own deepest needs first. If you are living for others before yourself and pushing your own needs aside, eventually you will crumble in some way — through depression, anger, anxiety or destructive behaviors.
7. Your choices may disappoint or offend others. That is sometimes necessary in order to grow and live authentically. Those who love you and want the best for you will accept and support you.
8. Count your blessings. You probably already have many of the things you want for your life. Don’t take them for granted.
9. Address personal issues head-on. Don’t use these as an excuse for not having what you want in life. If you have a wound, a personality or relationship problem, or an anxiety, go work on it. Resolve it. Weak people don’t seek help, but strong forward-moving people do.
10. Pick one small problem or irritation and resolve it. Feel how much personal power and energy that gives you. Imagine how it would feel to resolve one of your bigger problems or concerns.
11. Consider disengaging from people who bring you down or drain your energy. Build relationships with people who are positive, action-oriented, and supportive.
12. Pick the one change that would make the biggest positive difference in your life. Begin visualizing your life with this change implemented. Practice this regularly throughout the day.
13. Take this one step further and begin writing some specific action steps that might help make this change happen.
14. Strengthen your strengths. Make yourself indispensable in your area(s) of interest and expertise.
15. Always leave time for fun. Make fun happen in your life.
16. Don’t neglect your relationships. Don’t take them for granted. Find out what makes your loved ones happy, and do that for them.
17. Learn to let it go. Worry is the most fruitless expenditure of energy on the planet. Very little is worth worrying about. If you must do something, take action instead.
18. Don’t assume that you can’t do something. Prove that you can’t, and if so, try something else.
19. More often than not, your fear is the culprit for inaction. More often than not, your fears are unfounded or at least out of proportion. More often than not, your fear will go away once you take action.
20. Focus on the task at hand. When you feel overwhelmed and pulled in many directions, just pick an important thing and do it without distraction. Then do another one.
21. Life is short. You have a limited number of days on this Earth. There isn’t time to waste your days in worry, anger or frustration. Make the most of this moment and the next and the next and the next . . .
Happiness is not the absence of problems,
it’s the ability to deal with them.
This morning finds me a bit groggy after a good night’s rest even after a half hour awake and my first cup of coffee of the day. Extra measures of the activities of a good life squeezed out some usual sleep hours over the last ten days and I’m now in catch-up mode. I’m dragging!
Reading is frequently the best medicine for brightening my mood and I reached on top of the two stacks of books on the side of my desk. The first one I picked up for inspiration this morning was “Moments of Awareness” by Helen Lowrie Marshall published in 1968. There I found the little pick-me-ups I needed.
“Good Morning!” What a lovely way
To open up a brand new day!
Not knowing what that day may hold-
A sun of tinsel or of gold-
The phrase embraces in its scope
His faith-of every soul a part;
The love that lives in every heart.
“Good Morning-and a Good Today!
May all things happy come your way;
And may the light of this new dawn
Find all your cares and worries gone.”
So much the simple words convey-
“Good Morning-It’s a lovely day!”
“A Shaft of Sunlight”
A shaft of sunlight breaking through
Can make the whole world shining new;
Can shape tomorrow, change a life;
Can banish doubt and fear and strife.
One shaft of sunlight through the grey,
One word of cheer that we may say,
Could carry far-flung consequence,
And might make all the difference.
The words of sages, philosophers and poets have frequently been the sign posts of my life that pointed me in the direction I needed to go or else reminded me of what I already knew. Silently each writer is my companion on this adventure called life and gives me insight, strength and encouragement. I am grateful for my ability to read and all those who inspire me by their words put down for me to discover.
I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.