Role Models are always useful as we chart new courses for ourselves-- these are the trail blazers who have successfully gone ahead of us (people you admire and look up to, whether they are dead and ensconced forever in a biography from the library, Bible heroes, or your sweet, wealthy Aunt you see every year at Christmas)-- if you know someone who seems truly happier than unhappy, someone more upbeat than morose (and you are pretty sure they aren't on a high dosage of Paxil), you might want to ask them what the secret of their happiness is... maybe you will even want to hang with them for a bit to see how they live this happy life.
Failing that, here are Suggestions for Being Happy that you can try out... Please add any suggestions that you have in the Comments section below-- I will review them and add them to the list... let's go for 500, okay?
- Count your Blessings-- (we covered that in yesterday's blog)-- keep a Gratitude Journal and write in it every day-- express your gratitude out loud -- let people know you appreciate them
- Act Happy-- Smile at yourself in the mirror and in store windows... if you feel a little pressed, flat, and/or insincere, think of a situation that was really funny and heart-warming, even a funny movie or book you read recently (recalling my little granddaughters' fresh takes on life can take me out of the gloomiest of glooms into a much sunnier emotional place). When you act happy, your attitude actually follows! Try this old ruse: throwing your arms into the air and doing a couple of jumping jacks with a smile on your face, say "I'm so depressed". If you want to see some hilarious happy-making videos, check this one out by psychologist Loretta Laroche-- I used it (and others) during my days of working with seriously depressed women and have the greatest regard for this particular humour therapist:
- Socialize! Join a healthy community, club, church, team sport, gym. Find ways to meet others to develop close friendships and connection.
- Attach dates to your Dreams-- Dream deeply and often, write down your dreams as goals, and set about achieving them by specified dates. Here is a free, fairly intense and motivating online course you can take and complete on your own schedule. Goal-setting and other aspects of "mastering life" are covered.
- Choose a career/profession/job that you truly enjoy... if you think about it and explore what you are drawn to as a young person you will likely find a life's work that seems not like work at all...
- Here are ten more tips from Happy People And remember, please add your suggestions-- what works for YOU (comment on the bottom of this blog-- thank you!)
With gratitude, I base this blog on the book "Learn to be an Optimist: A Practical Guide to Achieving Happiness" by Lucy MacDonald, a Quebec-based motivational speaker with an academic background in psychology and counseling.