Bringing Back the Happy

With the season of giving and resolution upon us, how can we find happiness and express gratitude in the New Year? Wherever you are in life, and whatever your circumstances might be, there are ways you can start your new year with a reasonable resolution that focuses on finding happiness. Here are eight easy changes you can begin making.
1. Live in the moment. “Now” is the only thing we have control over. Getting stuck in the past or worrying about the future will continue to impact your happiness. Let go of things that are out of your control and be present. Put down your phone, get off your computer and look up. There are people in your life that want your attention. You will begin to feel the change when you focus on moments instead of days.
2. Appreciate the life you have and express gratitude often. Be thankful for your health, children, parents, friends, jobs, homes, pets, and so much more. Relish in these things daily and take the focus off of money, success, and fame. If you are going through a rough patch, try to focus on the mantra, “This too shall pass.” Everything is temporary.
3. Keep challenging yourself to learn new things and grow as a person. Don’t get complacent and let life pass you by. Take a painting class, change jobs, make new friends, start a new exercise program or read more often. Do something that makes you excited to be alive.
4. Learn to forgive. Holding grudges and feeling resentful is harmful to your health and happiness. When you learn to forgive, you allow yourself to heal. Forgiveness does not mean you are excusing the other person’s actions or forgetting what happened. Forgiveness is for you, not them. It frees you from being bound to what hurt you.
5. Train your mind to counteract negative thoughts and feelings. For example, you can begin to practice meditation, yoga, or relaxation techniques to quell anxiety and promote serenity. You can learn to recognize negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.
6. Foster relationships and friendships. When you are surrounded by people you love, you will have support during difficult times. Relationships are a big part of happiness. Living a solitary lifestyle with little interaction can be a cause of depression and other mental illnesses.
7. Practice humility. It is a quality of being courteously respectful of others. Humility distinguishes the wise from the arrogant. When you focus more on betterment of yourself for those around you, rather than for your own ego, you feel a sense of happiness.
8. When all else fails, observe the happiness of others. What makes others happy? What can we take from their approach to life? You know these people. They are always pleasant to be around and look for the positive in every situation. Surround yourself with happy people and some of it is sure to rub off on you!