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9 easy things to do that will bring you greater happiness

Posted January 12

We all want to be happy. The good news is we are in control of making that happen. Here are a few ideas to consider:

1. Ditch the frowny face in the morning

If you are one of those who wakes up with a please-not-another-day-of-work attitude then you are indeed a candidate for an attitude make-over. Instead, smile and think, “I’m alive and get another day on this beautiful planet.” Let your spouse, your family and your fellow workers see that happy face. Smiles are contagious and yours will put one on their faces.

2. Grab a pen and write 3 things you’re grateful for

You’ll be surprised how hard it is to write just three. By putting these feelings of gratitude on paper, you force your mind to see the good in life. You’ll find yourself consciously recognizing more and more things you are grateful for. Doing so is a sure way to bring a little more happiness to your everyday life.

3. Blink away that critical eye when looking at your kids

We often only see and comment the faults in our children with remarks like: "He didn’t do his homework." "She didn’t feed the cat." Or "She’s got too much makeup on." And the list goes on. If that’s the case, stop it. Open your eyes and see the goodness in your kids. The more you comment on their virtues, the more they will reach for good.

4. Get the wax out of your ears and start listening

Especially to your family. Sit down with your child and say, "Tell me something fun that happened to you today." Or "If you could do anything in this world for fun, what would it be?" Then listen. If it’s something completely outlandish, just enjoy it—without any criticism. A simple comment like, "Oh, that would be fun," will keep the conversation going. Some things are just fun to dream about out loud, especially with someone who loves you.

5. Put a cap on the amount of news you watch

News can be discouraging. Stories showcasing good in the world are hardly the norm for the news. It’s the tragedies that capture the attention of reporters. Don’t let negative stories rule your day. There is no need to see the same disheartening blather over and over. Move on to something more uplifting. Be choosey with your news viewing.

6. Tune into music that lifts and calms you

Music is powerful. Sheryl M. Ness, RN, said, "For relaxation ideas, find your favorite songs and take time to meditate. Let the music transport you to another place and time. Allow your mind to drift away to positive thoughts and memories. Close your eyes and take in the music around you; it will make you smile inside and out!"

Create a playlist of songs that calm, uplift and rejuvenate you. Play selection from this list at least a little every day. Add to it as you discover new songs that speak to you.

7. Find good friends and keep ‘em

In her article, "Fifteen Reasons We Need Friends" Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. said, "When it comes to happiness, your friends are the key." One of those reasons is that "Close friends support you through thick and thin." We all need friends we can count on and have fun with.

8. Put on your shoes and go for a walk

Get out into nature, which may be nothing more than a walk in a neighborhood park, or going up and down your street. Walking clears your head and opens your eyes to the outside world. You can walk your way into a happier day. Try it with a friend and double your fun.

9. Stop comparing yourself to others

You are your own barometer. You know what you need to change. And it doesn't have anything to do with wanting to be someone else. Be excited about being you. Set a goal or two and work to achieve it. If you did a little better today than yesterday, you’re on your way. Happiness is all wound up in feeling good about who you are.

Find the good in yourself. Even say the words in your mind or in front of the mirror, “I fixed a darn good meal for my family today.” Or “I handled that client well and I’m proud of myself for it.” Give yourself a pat on the back whenever you deserve it. Notice the many times you actually do deserve it.

This little tune, “Put One Foot In Front of the Other” may give you the push you need to make the needed changes in your life.

Gary Lundberg is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Joy is a writer. Together they author books on relationships. See their new .99 e-book "Wake-Up Call: What Every Husband Needs to Know" on amazon.com. Their website is garyjoylundberg.com.

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