In honor of the International Day of Happiness, I thought I would share my much coveted secret to happiness. You see, I am undoubtedly one of the happiest people I know. The only possible exception is my Hilton Head Health trainer, David Chesworth. He may match my happiness but his propensity to exceed it is just dysfunctional if you ask me.
It may sound rather braggadocios in declaring my superior happiness but the great thing about being happy is that you don’t let naysayers steal your happiness with jealousy or judgments. Happiness is a gift that should be protected with fierce conviction. It is a virtual force-field that shields you from the dark-side – the happiness thieves.
A much dismissed fact about happiness is that it’s a choice. Hearing that syrupy saying, “See the glass as half full instead of half empty” can cause an involuntary twitch. However, the deeper meaning behind that trite adage is that happiness is almost always an option. Most moments and life events give us an opportunity to choose a perspective that leads to happiness and optimism. Let’s test this theory. When you wake up this Friday make the decision to BE happy. Set your sights on happiness. Later that day take a moment to reflect on your success. I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that at day’s end you will still be happy.
Inherent in most decisions we make is the end-goal of more happiness. We choose a certain job because we think it will make us happy. We choose a home or hometown because we think living there will make us happy. We choose a companion because we believe being with them will make us happy. We exercise and eat nutritiously because we believe doing so will lead to being healthier, and well, happier. In other words, we put a great deal of work into securing our happiness. We invest a lot of our time, money and effort in the pursuit of happiness. Want to know a secret? I’ve discovered a great short cut.
I’ve discovered a back-road, or alleyway, that gets you to happiness lickety-split. It takes hardly any time, costs nothing, and is super easy. My secret to cost-effective, effortless happiness is gratitude. Not just normal, run-of-the-mill gratitude but rather purposeful, decisive cultivation of gratitude. Gratitude is the force behind the happiness force field.
Some might say that happiness and gratitude are inseparable. Although there is truth in that conclusion, there are times when happiness feels illusive. Gratitude, on the other hand, is always available to you. All we have to do is look inward, recalling some of our most joyful memories. Acknowledging the people that have brought great love and learning to our life. All we have to do is take a single moment to reflect on some of our many blessings, most of which we take for granted.
Happiness doesn’t really have to be achieved. It just needs to be relived and we do that by counting our blessings. Our blessings are abundant…fresh fruit, clean drinking water, community, a puppy kiss, fragrant breezes, belly laughs, a helpful friend, a good night sleep and the list goes on and on.
The secret to my happiness can be summarized in one sentence: Happiness is a choice that begins by cultivating gratitude. When we experience gratitude happiness rises to the surface of our hearts and in that moment we are abundant.