14 Aug

Be Happy

wds 2014 1492Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the whole world could simply be happy?

Today’s photo subject on What is the Change You Want to See in The World wants you to Be Happy. While some may say this is an impossible change, we can each do our part to make it happen.

First, start with yourself.  Make it a personal goal to be happy everyday.  Smile. Laugh. Live life to the fullest. When you project happiness, it becomes infectious. As it has been said many times, laughter is the best medicine.

Are you reading this thinking “How does she expect me to be happy when ________ is going on?” We all have moments in time where happiness seems to be missing, where the skies are dark, our future feels hopeless and we are full of despair. These moments come from many reasons such as job loss, disaster, death and so on. But, when we are at our darkest moments, take a moment to remember the good times, the special moments. If it is a loss of a job or another tangible object, it can be replaced; you can move forward. it seems I am full of cliches tonight but I truly believe that when one door closes, another door opens. We go through ups and downs in life in order to learn and develop ourselves. Our happiness is ultimately derived from how we view events in our life.

So, what’s next? How do we spread happiness in our community and around the world?

Smile. A smile is one of the easiest ways to spread happiness. Try smiling at everyone you interact with during the next few days. Step it up a notch and offer a nice greeting such as “Have a Nice Day” or offer an unexpected compliment. When someone is feeling glum, a smile can make a huge difference.  Smiles are infectious, as is laughter.

Other ways we can spread happiness are positive thoughts, comedy, helping others and hugs (*warning: please don’t hug strangers without permission – this could get you in trouble with the law).  A friend of mine, Jean Leggett, a Joy and Laughter Coach, actually hosts free hugs days at local events and around the world. She sure helps a lot of people to be happy with her infectious smile and laughter!

Are you having trouble finding your happy place? Try this: Make a list of all the things that make you happy and a list of the things than make you sad, frustrated or angry. Keep doing the things on your happy list. For your other list, rate these items from most unhappy to least unhappy. Think about how you can change each thing on your list to reduce your non-happy time.

What can you do to reduce or eliminate the issues causing unhappiness? For example, if you are unhappy with your weight, can you change your diet to eat healthier or add exercise (exercise also releases endorphins and increases serotonin levels which help you be happy!).  If your job is the stressor, can you find different employment or change your work environment to reduce stress and increase job satisfaction. In most cases of unhappiness, there are steps that can be taken to turn that frown upside down.

What else can we do to encourage world happiness? The options are truly unlimited but here are my top 10 in completely random order.

  1. Smile and laugh often.
  2. Share good news with family and friends.
  3. Share accomplishments and good news of other people.
  4. Take what makes you unhappy and pivot it. Move forward, take action and make positive changes in your life.
  5. Exercise.
  6. Get involved with your community.
  7. Take time to play with kids and enjoy youth.
  8. Surround yourself with positive people.
  9. Keep learning.
  10. Step outside your comfort zone and try new things.

We are the ones who must decide for ourselves if we will live a positive life and be happy, or watch the world go by as we grumble to ourselves. The latter option drives unhappiness as negativity brings down the happiness of others.