“Happiness is a choice, not a result. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy. No person will make you happy unless you decide to be happy. Your happiness will not come to you. It can only come from you.”
~ Ralph Marston
At a recent yoga class, I had a student show up wearing a t-shirt with a simple message stamped on the front. It said “Choose Happiness.” Who would have thought that happiness was a choice? Doesn’t happiness come dressed up in a grand gesture bestowed on us by another? Isn’t “Happy” saved for birthdays and holidays? What truly makes us happy? And what does “Happiness”
In 2011, the 193 countries that comprise the United Nations decided that the world needed more happiness. It seems that despite economic growth, the expansion of technology, advances in medicine and other efforts toward progression, our society has displaced general happiness as a priority. With this deficit in mind a resolution was adopted, and in 2013 the first International Day of Happiness was celebrated across the world. I’m ashamed to say, somehow, I missed it. But this year, thanks to my yoga friend and her t-shirt message, I plan to celebrate the 2017 International Day of Happiness on March 20th.
Beyond this one day of solidarity, living happier is always available. Like everything else, it takes effort and practice. Like almost everything else, the first step is the most difficult one to take. Below are just a few suggestions that might lead to happier living.
- Practice mindfulness. In other words, focus your attention on the present moment. Stopping to smell the roses is mindfulness. Breathing deeply through a difficult moment is mindfulness. Looking into the eyes of a loved one, and seeing beyond the hazel or blue color, is mindfulness.
- Connect with others. Volunteer your time to help someone in need. Join an organization that represents something you believe in. Walk with a friend. Smile at a stranger.
- Feed yourself. Beyond fruits and vegetables, and a healthy food diet, nourish your mind and your body. Exercise, read, do puzzles, play games.
- Adjust the lens you’re looking through. There’s little doubt that we will eventually see what we’re looking for. Be aware of what it is you expect to see. The glass may be half empty or perhaps it’s half full. How you see it, depends on your level of thirst.
- There’s a beautiful meditation on health and happiness:
“May you be happy.”
“May you be healthy.”
“May you ride the waves of your life, no matter what you are given.”
Recite this meditation to someone you love. Recite it silently to a stranger. Speak these words to your reflection in the mirror.
I might be going out on a limb here, but I’m not sure anything really brings us happiness. I think happiness exists in us all. But feeling it is definitely a choice. Today, I choose happiness.
Laurie Kasperbauer, RYT 200, enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes. Laurie is also an active Florida realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. She can be reached at Harborview Realty, 291 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, or by calling 712-210-3853.