Happiness should be a high priority in your life. You even have a responsibility to yourself to participate in those activities that bring you satisfaction leading to your own happiness.
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, “There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.” Some authors on the subject of happiness even go so far as asserting that people have a moral obligation to be happy. The reason is rather obvious. Happy people do far more good than unhappy people. When you are happy, you have a positive effect on people. When you are unhappy, you also influence—but in a negative way.
Reflect on what life has given you. You will soon start to be grateful—and gratefulness is the greatest key to happiness.
Do not confuse fun and enjoyment with happiness. The thrills of winning in Las Vegas, an intense joy of a personal encounter, or having a peak of ecstasy are wonderful moments. But happiness comes from being content most of the time. This occurs when you have thoughts and feelings of well-being and an inner sense of balance and purpose.
Happiness Hides in the Little Things
Happiness also hides in life’s little things. If you’re not looking, you will not see them. As a youth growing up in Hollywood, California, I would hear Al Jarvis, a disk jockey on radio station KFWB, often say, “It’s the little things in life that mean the most to all of us.” How true! I was lucky having heard and learned this wisdom at a young age.
Good news such as getting a promotion or winning a lottery prompts happiness for a while. Then we adapt. Bad news such as ending a relationship or losing a job brings sadness for a while. Then we adapt.
Adaptation explains why people can be happy after physically disabling accidents and tragedies.
Adaptation starts with an aim to be happy. This sounds obvious, but often we don’t make happiness a priority. Here is a simple procedure for you and your children. Write the words, “I intend to be happy today,” on a piece of paper and stick it on the bathroom mirror. When you look at it in the morning, stop and reflect. Ask yourself, “What can I do today that will bring me satisfaction?” Vary your answers for a week.
Abraham Lincoln was accurate when he said, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Take responsibility for your happiness. When you do, notice how your relationships and effectiveness improve.
Here are two practices to help you make happiness a high priority: (1) put ideas and experiences in a positive perspective and (2) think “open.” This second is a corollary to the first. When you think in positive terms you are open to learning new perspectives, different viewpoints, and becoming wiser in your life’s journey.
Teaching, parenting, and simply living can be stressful at times. That’s why I wrote my newest book Live Without Stress: How to Enjoy the Journey. If you’re looking for stress management advice, check it out. The book is available as a print book (Buy one and get a second copy free to give as a gift), as an eBook, and as an audio book at PiperPress.com.