I was a grouch yesterday morning. Not sure why, but I arrived at the pool noticing all the things that were wrong--Why is everybody so noisy today? She never turns the shower off! Oh, that swimmer practically ran me over!
Luckily (!) I noticed and centered myself. As I've often written in these posts, centering doesn't always make me a nicer person or make difficult emotions go away, but it does show me I have a choice in this moment about how I respond.
When I centered myself, I could see that I was the one who needed to change. And I decided to smile. At myself. Then I decided to smile just because it's a lot more fun than the alternative. And then I decided to appreciate what I could about the day, the water, the weather, the people, and whatever else I could find.
New research is published every day on the benefits of practicing happiness (sounds funny, doesn't it?) and the fact that happiness is a state of being we can choose. This research says that success at work doesn't make us happy so much as happiness makes us successful at work, and play, and well... life.
The TEDTalk, The Happy Secret to Better Work by Psychologist and CEO Shawn Achor, tells us how this happens and suggests ways to develop and practice happiness. Simple practices gradually change us into happier people, according to Shawn. Practices like:
- Gratitude - as easy as smiling and noticing three new things everyday that you're grateful for.
- Journaling - writing about something you appreciate about a loved one, friend, or coworker. Or yourself!
- Exercise - doing one exercise activity consistently for 21 days.
- Meditation - finding a few minutes every day to sit quietly and focus on your breath.
- Random Acts of Kindness - giving a complement to three different people a day.
Today we celebrate America's founding principles--the right of all to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. So find your happiness today, and choose it tomorrow and the next day and the day after that.
Like centeredness, we can memorize what happiness feels like in the mind and body and go there on purpose. True happiness connects us with what's meaningful in life. We learn to develop gratitude, awe and wonder, central characteristics of happy people.
What are you happy about today? If nothing pops up, try this:
Decide to be happy, then look for the reasons.
PS - Some have said my CD, Simple Gifts, is a "joy-generator."