Happiness is a Choice

August 12, 2016

We are approaching the Summer Equinox. This means the most sun, the longest day of the year and the summer is ahead. Time for vacation, getting away, getting outside, enjoying life. Being happy. As an aside, if we wait until a few short weeks once a year, to be happy doing what we enjoy, chances are we will be disappointed. Of course, the feeling of renewal and happiness that can happen in getting away, vacationing is important. Also important is being able to be happy even when the situation is not as exactly what you want.

There has been a lot of research done on happiness. What is it? How do we get it? As we enter this time of year in which we all hope and intend to feel happy, I invite you to consider your happiness, what creates it, what sustains it and how do you get it back when it goes away.

Do you feel entitled to be happy? Are you worthy of happiness? All these questions and many more can also be what you think about as you go about your “holiday time” of year.

What has made me happy so far today and it’s only 7 a.m.?

I love the 800 thread count sheets on my bed as I snuggled in them. I love that another day has come. I have a great morning routine. I get my breakfast ready. I went outside in the cool magical morning mountain air.  The East End of Mt. Rundle was reflected in the still water on Spring Creek.

Once back, I sat down at my desk to write this article. I looked at photos to inspire me. I listened to my two favorite Leonard Cohen songs, Hallelujah and Anthem. I particularly love the words in Anthem, there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. So much meaning to that. No one is perfect and we all have things that have hurt us, but that place where the crack is, the broken heart, the wounded emotions is exactly where the light of newness and change can heal. Doing my morning writing is a key part of my happiness and creativity.

So what is happiness for you?

Below is some very interesting information on how to be happy by researcher, Dr. Sonjia Lyubomirsky, author of a very important book on the science of happiness entitled The How of Happiness.

The How of Happiness

I came across a researcher, Sonjia Lyubomirsky, who has explored the science of happiness and come up with evidence based commonalities that make up happiness.  In her book, The How of Happiness, she goes through what constitutes happiness and statistically proven practical suggestions of how to attain/obtain it. And the very best part is she has put together a song, a rap song that is an outline of the book. It is the science of happiness in a song.

The book is based on two premises:

  1. Happiness is worth striving for, and
  2. While 50% of our happiness is genetically determined, only 10% is related to circumstances and 40% is self determined.

It is designed to give you the strategies to take control of the 40%.

Here are the twelve happiness hacks she gives:

  1. Gratitude
  2. Cultivating Optimism
  3. Stop overthinking; ask yourself will it matter in a year
  4. Acts of kindness
  5. Nurturing social relationships
  6. Writing 20 minutes three times weekly to heal emotional pain
  7. Being able to forgive
  8. Increasing flow experiences to be in the moment
  9. Savor the joys of life
  10. Commit to your goals
  11. Have a spiritual practice
  12. Physical activity 30 minutes a day; Daily meditation and act happy, fake it till you make it.

What things on this list of evidence based strategies are you doing and how do you feel when you’re doing them?  We will be focusing on some of the specific strategies in the coming weeks to encourage you to adopt them in your day to day life and have you get more fun and enjoyment of your  your summer time that will carry forward after.

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