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Stress Management for Living, Teaching, & Parenting

The Art of Happiness

Image of a child drawing a big happy face on a wall.

Most people strive for a state of happiness, but the fact is that staying unhappy is all too easy. It even comes naturally to some people. Here is a tip that is sure to turn your frown upside-down and invite happiness into your life.

If you are in a funk, it is natural to be unhappy. Abraham Lincoln proclaimed, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

But when you are in this state and do nothing about it, you are taking the easy way out. Is this in your own best interest? Of course not. When you’re unhappy or feeling sad, it is a shame to take the easy way out.

You can take the easy approach and remain in a funk, or you can choose to put forth effort that results in true happiness. All you need to do to change your feelings is to redirect your thinking. The emotion (feelings) always follows thinking (cognition).

Your Thinking Leads to Happiness

Never attempt to change an emotion directly; it can’t be done.

Here is an example of how this thinking-emotion relationship works. When I served as an elementary school principal, the kindergarten teacher called the office one day because she was not successful in stopping a boy from crying. I reached into my bag of tricks, took out a stethoscope, and hurried to the kindergarten student. I placed the end of the stethoscope on the boy’s chest in three places and then proclaimed him healthy; the boy immediately stopped crying.

What did I do? As soon as I redirected his attention, the emotion immediately changed.

Tip: When unhappy, change your feelings by redirecting your thinking. It’s as simple as reflecting on how fortunate you are. This is the secret to feeling a sense of happiness.

For example, when someone asks me, “How are you today, my respond is “GREAT” and under my breath I finish the thought with “FUL.” (GRATEFUL)

Do you have your health? Can you see? Can you hear? Do you have legs to walk? Have you heard about the man who complained about his trouble in getting around until he saw a man who had no feet? Are you able to get out of bed and enjoy yourself?

Just reflect on how lucky you are and your unhappiness will immediately dissipate, and happiness will follow.

You can get many more empowering tips like this one in my award-winning book, Live Without Stress: How to Enjoy the Journey. Buy one and get one free as a gift. You will not want to depart with your own copy. Be sure to check out the Without Stress Facebook Group where you can connect with other life-minded people on a journey to reduce stress.

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Dr. Marvin (Marv) Marshall
Phone: 714.220.1882
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Marv@MarvinMarshall.com
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