Peter Pan was asked by his friend Wendy how she could fly like him. He replied that to fly, all she had to do was to think happy thoughts. Although this was a children’s story and a fictional character, the moral of the story was and remains true. Thinking happy thoughts may not help us fly, but we can be as happy as we choose to be.
Many people allow their life circumstances to control them. Their sense of happiness rises and falls depending on what is happening in their life. This doesn’t need to be the case. We can focus on our happiness every day, so that feeling happy is a state of mind, not a reaction to the events in our life.
Ask yourself daily what you can do to create happiness in your life. At the end of each day take a check of the things you did that made you happy and be honest. If you can’t think of anything you did that produced a feeling of happiness, ask yourself—why and make an effort to change things tomorrow.
Here are some ways you can help yourself to feel real happiness if you practice these daily.
- Help other people. As long as your focus is always on yourself, you will be acutely aware of things that are not as good as they could be in your life. By focusing on helping others, we realize again the good in our own life.
- Find something to be thankful for every day. Look around your world every day and find at least one thing to be thankful about each day. Write it down in a journal and review your journal regularly to help you remember the good things in your life.
- Surround yourself with good friends and spend at least part of one day a week with them. Happiness is contagious. As you surround yourself with happy people who are positive, their happiness will affect you and your happiness will affect them. Keep gossip and other negative talk away from your gatherings.
- Head down memory lane regularly. Your life is full of happy memories. Write down why those things made you happy and laugh with someone who remembers them.
- Nurture those you love. You may feel this step is logical and that you do this all the time as a spouse or a parent. Think carefully however. How much time do you invest into improving your marriage, or developing your parenting skills? Research shows that the happiest people are those with the strongest relationships with significant others.
- Look after your health. Enjoy yourself running around with the children, going to the gym or playing golf with your friends. Looking after your health fills you with energy and when you add laughter to the fun you are the winner.
- Try something new you have always wanted to do. Set yourself a challenge to do something new every week no matter how much you feel you can’t do it. Have a go and enjoy the experience. You may find yourself surprised by the results, and if you don’t succeed you will certainly enjoy trying it. Better still, try it with a friend and double the fun.
- Don’t expect too much. Instead, enjoy what comes to you. Keep your expectations on yourself and others at a reasonable level. If you set the standard too high you are setting yourself up to feel let down. Accept and appreciate the things that people do for you and you are able to do for yourself and others.
Happiness is in our reach if we focus on achieving it. Taking time to appreciate the good things in our life and the gift of love that is given to us by our significant others are reasons to celebrate what is happening in our life. We should be focusing these things on each day as we think about the things we have been blessed with. They are the things that remain constant when other things in our life are not going as well. They help us keep the difficult moments we will inevitably face in perspective and give us hope when things around us may seem hopeless.