The Art of Happiness.

Perhaps it’s because I spend my days writing imaginary scenes with imaginary characters that I understand the power of imagination. I’ve come to realize the way in which I view the world, and my everyday experiences are under my control. In other words:“With every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice.” Oprah Winfrey

I’m someone who has always seen and felt the pain in this world. As a child, I once told a friend, “I feel too much.” Years ago I realized I needed to learn how to live a peaceful, happy life even with the weight of the world’s problems on my shoulders. Not that I wanted to ignore the issues. I wanted to recognize when I felt helpless and change my thoughts of defeat to thoughts of action. Over the years I’ve learned that no matter what my situation my mind will try to sneak in thoughts of worry, panic, or fear if I’m not conscious of how my thoughts are affecting my mood.  Worry, panic, and fear do nothing but make me feel helpless, angry and miserable so why allow them to control me when I have the choice to choose thoughts of happiness. That doesn’t mean I’m happy every second of every day. It means I’m aware of how my thoughts affect my happiness. The goal is happiness every day. Some days are easier than others.

Here’s what I’ve learned about happiness so far.

  • It has to be practiced every day. I’m conscious of my happiness. I don’t just go through the routine of a day without ever considering it.
  • Happiness is always available. It’s in playing with my dogs.  It’s in reading on the couch with a cup of tea. It’s in listening to the birds sing while I water my trees or plant sunflowers.
  • Keeping a grateful journal creates happiness. It also conditions my mind to notice things to be grateful for.
  • Creativity creates happiness.
  • Helping others leads to happiness.
  • I have a list of the things I must do that make me feel whole which leads to happiness. Writing, running, time with my husband, kids, and friends, traveling, teaching and volunteering are all on the list. If I focus too much on one of the items on that list to the point of obsession–suddenly the very thing that made me happy turns to stress. For example, when I trained for a marathon I became so obsessed with running that it led to unhappiness. Would I complete the marathon? Why wasn’t I getting faster? What if I injured myself? Soon every run wasn’t quite good enough. I failed to see all I had accomplished and failed to enjoy the very thing that once made me happy. It’s important to remember the joy in the journey! Focusing too much on an end result creates stress.
  • When I surround myself with positive influences, it lifts my spirits, energy level and empowers me to create change. I left my previous gym because the news played on almost every channel in the center of the gym. There was no escaping it. I won’t eat in any restaurants that display the news or shows that bombard me with negativity. When I want to know what’s happening in the world, I choose my fact-based media outlets wisely. I don’t bring shows that are meant to create drama and fear into my home. Why would I ever have it around me when I’m paying to have a nice dinner or to improve my health. Watching negative programming affects the way I think and feel.
  • Happiness is just a thought away!

Being with my family brings me tremendous happiness! We’re all together, so I’m taking a blog break for the next month. I’ll be back in August. Thanks for reading and sharing my posts! Writing and inspiring people to enjoy their lives and make a difference in this big beautiful world makes me very happy!

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