Happiness is a choice. It is not just a way of being but rather it is a conscious choice and something you must commit to seeking every day. Happiness is what life is all about; it is what makes the challenges, failures, stresses, and losses, bearable. Happiness fills you up with goodness, inspires you to greatness, and heals all things. Happiness is worthy of pursuing every day. I am not saying you have to walk around all bubbles and sunshine but you can choose to see things from a more positive perspective, a more "glass half full" perspective and you will be amazed at the way the world opens up to you and you to it.
The following list is eight ways, some cheesier than others, that I have discovered to access happiness on a daily basis. See if they work for you:
1.) Be Grateful - Instead of always thinking about what you don't or seemingly can't have, focus on what you do have: a job, a home, clothes on your back, food in your belly, health, family and friends, and so much more. I've seen many people taking part in the gratitude challenges on Facebook and elsewhere and I think that is good practice for reminding oneself about the abundance of good things we have in our lives. It doesn't mean you can't seek out things you don't have or to stop desiring things you want, it just means be sure to recognize and appreciate the many blessings you already have.
2.) Connect authentically in your relationships - Check-in with good friends often and not just via text message, IMing, or social media, actually call and speak, or even better meet up and see one another in person. Celebrate the good things in their lives, and listen to them, don't just talk about yourself. People love to be heard and for friends who are struggling sometimes the best thing you can do is lend a compassionate listening ear. This doesn't mean you shouldn't talk about yourself, it just means listen (don't just hear, there is a difference), more than you talk.
3.) Learn Something New - Cook a new dish, play a new game, try a new sport, take a class, go for walk on a street in your neighborhood that you have never ventured down before, go into that store you've been curious about but never checked out. Bottom line: Get up and get out there.
4.) Pamper Yourself - You've been meaning to get to the salon to get your "hair did" for the longest, or your nails are looking so raggedy that no amount of DIY work is going to help. Go on and book that appointment, I always feel better when I step out the door of the salon. Looking better always makes me happy, because it makes me feel good about me.
5.) Dance - No matter how rough my day has been, or how down I feel, when I put on my dancing music and just let myself go, I immediately feel better. It doesn't solve any problems of course but for that moment I am able to set aside whatever I have going on and it takes the edge off. It is especially fun to dance with my kids.
6. Get lost in a great book - I am an avid reader and so rarely get to read that it is a real treat to just read for pleasure. One way I get this in is to read when I am in transit. I always carry a book or my kindle with me just in case. Reading helps transport me from "reality" into the "imaginary" which is always fun.
7.) Be Generous - Connecting with other people and feeling part of something larger than ourselves takes us a long way toward happiness.
8.) Meditate - Meditation is an important habit/tool for improving focus, clarity, and attention span. Meditation literally clears your mind and calms you down, and has been proven in several health and wellness studies to be an effective way to live a happier life.