As a man part of what I am about is doing things (being the cause) that cause other people to accept the effect – that is to be happy; to smile in acknowledgement and then go about doing the same for someone else. It’s another way to pay it forward.
I love to surprise someone I know with something that they least expect – like cutting out a story about them from the paper, writing a letter (with a stamp), saying, “It’s always great to see good friends in the news!” and sending it to them. Or to send flowers for no particular reason other than that I care.
Always remember… happiness is a choice! Happiness is defined by you! Yes, I know. Sometimes people say hurtful things intentionally, that’s when you can take a stand for happiness in spite of what may have been said. You get to choose. Often my first reaction is to temporarily slip away from remembering that I have a choice about how I feel. That’s usually when I bounce back quickly and put on a happy face. It’s not always easy, but it is always a better option. So, I say to you when someone tries to rain on your parade… choose to be happy. It may not come easy and you can do it. Your experiences of being happy improve over time. Hang around happy people. Don’t hang around unhappy people. You can’t make them happy… so stop trying. Make happiness a habit.
“Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
You can pursue happiness. You can do this by thwarting negative emotions such as pessimism, resentment, and anger. And you can foster positive emotions, such as empathy, serenity, and especially gratitude. Once you’ve decided to be happier, you can choose strategies for achieving happiness. Psychologists who study happiness tend to agree. Being happy often means feeling contented, feeling joyful, and having the sense that your life is meaningful.
Holding a grudge and nursing grievances can affect physical as well as mental health, according to a rapidly growing body of research. It’s time we all need to pay attention to our mind manners. Forgiveness is the key. Be good to yourself and to others.
In his book, Five Steps to Forgiveness, clinical psychologist Everett Worthington Jr. offers a 5-step process he calls REACH. First, recall the hurt. Then empathize and try to understand the act from the perpetrator’s point of view. Be altruistic by recalling a time in your life when you were forgiven. Commit to putting your forgiveness into words. You can do this either in a letter to the person you’re forgiving or in your journal. Finally, try to hold on to the forgiveness. Don’t dwell on your anger, hurt, and desire for vengeance.
Jot down on paper some of your happiest memories. Remember the situations that lifted your mood. Share them with friends. Speak happiness to others. Celebrate happiness. Listen to upbeat songs. Make a “Happiness Playlist.” Jamming out can help reduce stress – which leads to greater happiness in general.
Right now… pause and… If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands! Now then, doesn’t that feel good?
Copyright © 2015 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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