Have you ever noticed children's innate ability to be happy and completely carefree? Despite what is going on around them, a child always finds a reason to smile. I know my 3.5-half-year old daughter does. It doesn't matter if we've had a long day of shopping and Stella is exhausted or her nap was interrupted, she always manages to smile and laugh at the sweetest little things. A quick game of peek-a-boo or a compliment about her shoes will do it. It doesn't matter. The reason I bring this up is that as adults, we tend to sway away from this innocence. We're so caught up in being adults that we forget to just be happy! As Shawn Achor, the happiness expert, says, "If you've ever thought that people are either born happy or they're not, think again."
Happiness is a choice. It's a choice that we all make, no excuses. Regardless of circumstance, we can make the conscious effort to smile and choose to look at the brighter side of things. With that said, here's my top five tips on creating happiness and keeping it. After all, we can create happiness, but maintaining it is just as important.
For me this ranks first. If you start by loving yourself, it goes a long way. I always start each day with looking at myself in the eyes (in a mirror) and talking to myself. I appreciate myself just as I would appreciate my daughter or my best friend. This is an important aspect in creating and maintaining happiness. You have to love who you are on the inside and what better way than truly connecting with yourself. Loving yourself gives you confidence which is contagious and magnetic. Children are our best teachers! They truly love themselves and will tell anyone who will listen, how amazing they are. Let's take a page out of their book!
Ah, this is my daily mantra and my access to happiness. In every moment there is something I can always be grateful for. It's also easy to do when the heavens are shining down on you, but I find it's the most important to do when they are not. Sometimes it's the smell in the air or the thought of how blessed I am to be Stella's mom. There is always many things to be grateful about in every moment. Being appreciative of what you have and not what you don't have puts things into perspective. You look at things differently and see the brighter side of life. You're happier because you focus on the positive rather than the negative.
Stop what you are doing, take a few deep breaths and just be for a moment or two. If you can, close your eyes and quiet your mind. Five minutes goes a long way to alter your day. Being present in the moment is important because you experience more. Sometimes we are too engrossed on the past or worry about what will happen in the future that we miss the joys of what is going on right now. Making the conscious effort to disengage from all the distractions and being present has you enjoy life more. Your senses are heightened when you are focused on one thing and you are able to revel in the moment. Kids are the best teachers of this as well. They are always 100% focused on what they are doing right now. This is why it can be difficult to pull them away from what they are doing.
Do Things That Make You Happy
Whether that is listening to your favorite song, dancing, swinging, laughing with friends or window shopping, do what you love. One thing I've learned over the years is that doing what makes you happy, leaves no room for regret. If we focus on making us happy first, our productivity levels and accomplishments increase. As I've mentioned, children are the prime example of this. Children do what makes them happy, thus making them a joy to be around. When they're happy, they're more apt to listen and when they enjoy doing what makes them happy, they perform better in whatever task is delegated to them.
Nurture Your Relationships
Over the years, I've found that when my relationships are working, everything is working. There is nothing better than being in a partnership with the people you love. I believe that in partnership, anything is possible! Having healthy and happy relationships creates a loving and calming atmosphere. I mean, who wouldn't want relationships that are fun and have good, open communication? I guess you could say it's just one more reason to meet your girlfriends for dinner, have a date night with your significant other or take your kids to the park.