Would you believe me if I told you that happiness is a habit?
It takes about 28 days for a new habit to settle in and luckily (or unluckily, depending on your habits), it's difficult to break an old one. That means we can all get the happy habit without too much hard work and once we've got it, it'll be hard to get out of. Good news, eh?
Now, you might be thinking, oh it's alright for her, she's got a nice comfortable little life. Well let me tell you, I've had a good few decades in this world and I've had more than my fair share of hard times, so yes, I do feel qualified to speak about the happiness habit.
What I have learned is that we attract what we focus on. Focus on misery and guess what your life will be overflowing with? When I catch myself being a bit of a grump, I make a conscious decision to switch my mood. No, really, I do. I feel so much better for it!
My advice is, turn off those depressing and violent TV shows or games: watch more comedies. Sure we all need to know what's going on in the world, but don't dwell on bad things you see in the news: things that are out of your control.
Over thinking about stuff that makes you unhappy will only bring you down and you'll be no use to yourself or the people you care for.
Fair enough, think long and hard about things if it's your intention to act and make changes in the world or your community, but just grumbling and complaining for the sake of it is a waste of energy.
We all know that old saying, "There's always someone worse off." You know that's true. You've only to turn on the TV any day of the week to see that you have so much to be grateful for. Get into the habit of being grateful for what you do have and that's when you start to feel truly happy, nearly all the time.
"Ever heard it said that money cannot buy happiness?" You know that's real, also, don't you? Otherwise: how come, some people who live in tumbledown shacks in shanty towns sing and laugh all day, yet some multi-millionaires are so unhappy they try to kill themselves?
Every night before I go to sleep, I lie in bed and think of the best thing that happened to me that day. It might be something as simple as my husband cooked me a nice dinner, it could be that someone paid me a compliment or told me I did a good job. I relive the way it made me feel. If something didn't go the way I wanted it to, I replay it in my head but I give the episode a new ending, make the story end my way. Laugh at me if you want but it amuses me and makes me feel better. Those good thoughts stay in my head all night, maturing nicely for when I awake the next morning.
As I'm waking up the next day, I bring to mind four or five things that I am grateful for. I try to make them different every day. Sometimes they are big privileges or opportunities, most times they are as simple as, having people in my life who love me, running water in my home, (I've been without that for days at a time so I've learnt to appreciate it, believe me!) The use of my strong legs to be able to walk beside the river with my dogs. The ability to hear, so I can enjoy music, which is everything to me.
Never forget to be thankful for the small things in life, for really, they are the big things.
Something else that I've made a habit of, is starting a conversation with almost everyone I meet, even if it's just a comment about the weather. Chatting with someone at the bus stop or the in supermarket queue about anything is so easy. It makes them smile and in turn makes me feel good.
Try smiling at everyone who gives you eye contact. I estimate 99.9% of people you smile at will smile back. People are nice, allow them to prove it!
Maybe you've seen this quote: Live every day as if it were your last because one day it will be.
Life is short and I ain't got time for the blues!