5 Steps to Happiness – Debra Bokur

We all have challenges and moments of negativity in our lives, and no one can possibly be happy 24/7. It isn’t, well, human. There are things we can do, however, to put ourselves into a happy, positive frame of mind while still being realistic about life. Happiness, sometimes, really is a choice we have to make – regardless of the struggles that are part of being human.

Be Grateful

It’s an imperfect world, even on the best of days. At the moment, many of us are especially concerned – perhaps even fearful – of the state of the world’s economy, environmental fragility, and ongoing acts of violence. While it may sound like a contradiction in the face of these truths, we all have things to be grateful for. Insofar as our actions and state of mind help shape our own reality, make the choice to identify and celebrate the love and blessings in your life, whether that’s your health, your home, or your neighbour’s child who smiles at you every time you meet.

Consider Your Surroundings

Sometimes, our lives seem so hectic and out of control that choosing to be happy is an overwhelming prospect. It’s liberating to know and accept that your response to any life challenge is yours, completely, to choose. This includes distancing, or removing yourself completely, from negative people. And while we’re mentioning movement, remember all those studies that have shown the positive effects of exercise on improving mood. Instead of sitting at home worrying or feeling sorry for yourself, take yourself outside for a long walk.

Keep It Simple

Happiness isn’t really such a complicated thing. When savored, simple moments – a bowl of hot soup on a cold winter day, listening to music that lifts your spirits on the way to work, a perfect cup of tea before bed – can help shape your outlook. Wealth can purchase a lot of stuff, but happiness really isn’t one of them. When I was still in college, an elderly woman I knew used to keep a picture of the Italian countryside on a table in her living room. When I asked her if it was a place she’d been, she seemed surprised, explaining that she didn’t even have a passport. She told me it wasn’t that she longed to visit this place someday, but rather that it gave her profound happiness just to know such beauty existed.

Put Things In Perspective

Find a spot where you can look up at the sky. Picture the beautiful blue Earth, suspended in the universe, spinning slowly around the Sun, surrounded by billions of stars and other planets. Suddenly, the argument you had with your sister, or the mean clerk at the market, lose momentum and importance, and are scaled back to what they really are: small blips in the day that have no lasting importance, isolated moments in a world so vast and astounding, that they’re easy to let go of. Which brings us, once again, to consciously making the choice to be happy. It’s up to you.

Step Outside Your Own Drama

Doing something for someone else can be an instant mood-improver. Help a neighbour shovel snow from their driveway, or offer to shop for someone who has a hard time getting around. There are countless opportunities to help others. Simple acts of kindness are often the most rewarding.

Taken with permission from Omnitom High on Earth by Debra Bokur at http://www.omnitom.com.

One Response to “5 Steps to Happiness – Debra Bokur”
  1. Ann says:

    So simple, and yet such an important lesson to learn

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