12 Ways to Happy – Part 2

So, did you do your homework yesterday?  Did you read my post, Part 1 of this 2-part series?  If you didn’t then the following won’t make nearly as much sense as it could.  Go ahead, if you didn’t, take just a few minutes and at least read Part 1.  I’ll be here when you get back … … … …

If however you did read Part 1, then you’re all set.  Read on.  The following is my assessment of how I’m doing with the 12 habits that will take us a long ways down the road to Happy.  Think about you as you read about me.

According to the original web site that started all-this: Studies conducted by positivity psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky point to 12 things happy people do differently to increase their levels of happiness.  These are things that we can start doing today to feel the effects of more happiness in our lives.  

Here we go!

1. Express gratitude. – Well I’m happy to say I think I have this down in spades.  I’m aware of the blessings in my life and have always tried to remain mindful of them each and every day.  I’m especially grateful to those who have been with me throughout the years through the thick and thin of it all.  I try to let them know, either through the written word and often in conversation, how much I appreciate them.  I believe, for the most part, I’ve done a good job.

2. Cultivate optimism. – Check again! I’m that optimistic little fellow you see here to the left, even amidst all the uncertainty of my life and despite those around me that would like to see everyone as miserable as they are.  It has a lot to do with seeing the BIG picture.  See #6 below.

3. Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. – I probably over-think a lot of things.  Not that I worry about them, but still… I think about them.  It’s probably obvious from the fact I write this blog, and especially if you were to read my personal history.  I do not however make social comparisons.  I could care less about what others have or think.  I’m not in competition.  Besides, these days my social life’s not worth mentioning.  We come into this world alone and we will leave it the same way.

4. Practice acts of kindness. – I often look for ways to do this but fail sometimes to act when moved to do so.  Holding a door open for someone comes easy.  Yielding the right of way to another driver?  Piece of cake!  Walking across that room to approach that lady I wrote about yesterday and offer words of comfort?  That can be much more difficult.  I could do better, that’s for sure.  Pay it Forward was one of my favorite movies.

5. Nurture social relationships. – I’m well above average on this. I’m still nurturing relationships, both family as well as social, that for all intents and purposes died on the vine years ago.  To me they’re important and worth the effort.  Not everyone sees it quite the same.  It can be hard at times, rejection.

6. Develop strategies for coping.- My strategies are the results no doubt of all those self-improvement books I read when younger.  I cope just fine thank you.  My faith has the most to do with that.  The best thing I ever did in my life was to find religion.  I’m reminded of a cute little verse I’ve always found delight in reading, and in sharing:

If you can smile when things go wrong,
And say it doesn’t matter,
If you can laugh off cares and woe,
And trouble makes you fatter,
If you can keep a cheerful face,
When all around are blue,
Then have your head examined, bud,
There’s something wrong with you.
For one thing I’ve arrived at:
There are no ands and buts,
A guy that’s grinning all the time
must be completely nuts.

~~ Boyd K. Packer ~~

7. Learn to forgive. – One of my all-time favorite subjects!  A good one for a future post.  Little did I know years ago, when in college — and I came to understand the power of forgiveness — how much I would one day need a lot of it myself.  If you’re a Christian we have no other choice but to forgive.  That BIG picture thing again. Revenge and hate can be an awful weight on our shoulders.  Holding a grudge, self-righteous indignation, all those things that go with an unforgiving heart, can bring us down, make us miserable.  What’s to be gained?  There’s lots to be lost.  Believe me, it ain’t worth it.

8. Increase flow experiences. – Find me working at my computer, or at work in my vocation of broadcasting — something I really love to do — and I can focus like a laser beam on the task at hand. Clocks and food don’t matter.  I’m not sure why this should be so good for us.  Certainly my ex didn’t like it, nor the one before.

9. Savor life’s joys. – I’m pretty good at this.  There’s a blog here too.  I  just wish there were more of them (life’s joys that is).

10. Commit to your goals. – Goals?  Used to have them, not so much anymore.  They say a goal isn’t a goal until it’s written down.  All mine are in my head.  Guess they don’t count?  My age, my life’s station have trampled all over a bunch of them and it could take a while to get them back.  Hopefully that’ll change with time and those long-lost goals will become part of my life once again.  But then again?

11. Practice spirituality. – I read, I try to stay focused.  I think about these things.  It’s hard being single in a family-centered church.  It’s hard when reconciliation is in the works.  I may never be as I once was in this department.

12. Take care of your body. – Ooops.  While it’s ever-present on my mind I could do a lot better on this one.  I’m about 35 pounds overweight and I suffer from Fibromyalgia.  Exercise is not easy.  I’ve dealt with the weight thing before.  Lost it all with determination in about three months.  It was hard, but it could have been worse.  Lots of energy bars, Gator-Aid, fruits and vegetables.  No pop , little meat, no McDonalds, no fun.

Well, that’s enough self-absorption and gut-wrenching admissions for one blog on any day.  I hope you found this little exercise of value.  Speaking of value, did you notice?  Not a single one of these 12 habits cost a dime.  Happiness for free!  They say the best things always are.  So much for that almighty dollar and it’s ability to buy us anything we want.

Maybe you’ll share some of these thoughts with those that mean the most to you.  I hope above all it will have helped bring you a step or two closer to that ultimate happiness you deserve.  Good luck and I’ll look forward to seeing you again, and to reading your comment(s) which I’m sure you’ll post as we progress down the road to Happy.

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