Everybody wants to be happy, but many people don’t realize that happiness has to start with “you.” If you’re not content with your life and at peace with yourself… no amount of money… no number of possessions… will ever make you truly happy. True happiness comes from learning to enjoy the life you are living right now and learning to appreciate all the wonderful things you have at this moment. Living for a future time and yearning for the things you don’t have will never make you happy.

So what can we do to promote a cheerful attitude and feel happier?

  • Slow down and notice the little things. This might be as simple as enjoying the scent of the soap in your morning shower, or the way the air feels after a rain. Feeling happy about a lot of little things throughout the day adds up and contributes to an overall feeling of contentment and happiness.
  • I think that the spiritual part of your life is very important and that everyone needs to believe in something bigger than they are. As a Christian, I know that God is greater than any problem I am ever going to have, and for me this is a great source of peace.
  • Build a close relationship with the people in your family and remember that they are the most important people in your world. Quality time comes out of quantity time, and often at the most unexpected moments. Treat your family with respect. Be thoughtful and kind and remember that words (even carelessly said) can hurt.
Hostas in the garden at the side of our house
  • Avoid jealousy and try to be forgiving. Harboring bad feelings or grudges can do you a lot of emotional harm. It may help to remember that you are who you are because of EVERYTHING that has happened to you… good and bad… and that even the most hurtful things you have experienced have made you a stronger, more resilient person.
  • Be honest with yourself and others. Don’t be manipulative in your relationships, and don’t lie or be deceptive. Dishonesty is a drain on your soul. Know what your values are and try to live up to them in everything you do.
  • Keep your mind and body active. Try to stretch yourself mentally, even if it is just with a crossword puzzle or a game of Sudoku. Take a walk or do something physically challenging on a regular basis. Physical activity and mental stimulation are good for your health and your state of mind and will help you maintain a positive outlook on life.
  • Set long term goals and work towards them. These goals don’t have to be on a grand scale, but planning ahead to the future brings optimism and a sense of purpose to your life.
  • Give yourself and your family a special treat once in a while. Do something a little bit out of the ordinary. It takes little effort to turn ordinary days into memorable days.
  • Stay close to nature as much as you can. There is a satisfaction in working with growing and living things that you will never get from anything else.
  • Most of all, dwell on what is good about your life NOW. Appreciate the day-to-day positives in your life NOW. Don’t be so busy looking for happiness in the future that you miss out on the happiness you could be having today.