7 Easy Steps to a Happy Life
After extraordinary struggles and adventures that would daunt the bravest, Camille concluded that the best thing to do in life was to tend your garden.
Voltaire had it right. Trying to change the world with great deeds achieves nothing. Doing the best we can with our own lives is the most unselfish contribution we can make.
A friend of mine who is almost like a teacher to me in spirituality matters coined this word for me: Be a happy atom. After spending close to a million dollars searching for the best spiritual book, master, guru, and what have you in the latest new age jungle made her reach this straightforward conclusion: Be a happy atom.
So how does one become a happy atom?
It is effortless to live a happy life. Here are some ideas:
1. Wake up to a happy world.
Often, our day starts with the alarm clock blaring its tune selected to wake us up. Even if we use the alarm every day, I still get startled when it rings. We already start startled. Without the alarm clock, we often wake up at the usual time we set it, but we don't trust ourselves to do that, so we crank it up every night, ready to startle us to wake up.
The better way is to wake up when your body does and take a moment to welcome the day. Be happy you have the gift of another day. Greet it and smile at it. Say good morning to yourself, to your husband, and the world. Mostly, during workdays, this is not possible but during weekends, take the time. It does make a difference to your day.
When you get up, drink a glass of water. Isn't this what we often look for when we get up? Our body lets us know what it needs. We feel thirsty, and we reach out for that bottle we have at the side table. Drinking this glass of water cleanses your inside, and because you have not eaten for a few hours, this water does its job.
Water and happy thoughts will do wonders.
2. Be mindful of your day
As you start your day's activities, try to focus on what you do, not on what you need to do for the day, or at the office or the things you have to get at the supermarket or the friends you need to call. Don't you notice that just thinking about those things often makes you tired?
Just do what you are doing and enjoy what you do at every moment. Enjoy what you eat at breakfast. Taste that delicious smoothie you are having. Enjoy the texture of that yogurt or the smell of your fry up. Have a treat once in a while. This favorite will not kill you; it's the misery that will.
Enjoy that cup of coffee. Be present to what you do, even if it is just moving from your house to your car. Thinking about the things you have to do will only get you distracted, and if you're driving, you can cause yourself more misery.
Take a walk and notice the things you see to practice being present.
3. Be grateful
Pat your body and say how much you appreciate it. I recall the many mornings when I look at the mirror and start hating myself, and this immediately changes my mood that by the time I reach the office, I am ready for war or nastiness. See something in you and your life for which you are grateful. Thank God or the universe that you are still around and enjoying the many things around you.
I remember a home we had with many trees. On these trees nested many birds, and in the morning, they sing, and never fail to make me sing with them. What a joy that was each morning as I immersed myself in their song, singing psalms to the world.
4. Have balance
Forget looking at the calendar and complaining about the things you have to do for that day. Look at the calendar and see how your day unfolds. Put in some things you enjoy, especially when there are things you would not do. This action is what put rhythm to your day. Make it a well planned day with spurts of stuff you like to put in like polka dots to an otherwise dreary day.
These are just simple things. If you like talking to a friend, ask her to do her groceries at the same time. Or have a cup of coffee with her before you go to your dentist. Or treat yourself to a spa or bring your book to the park and read there. Or pick up some flowers and brighten your place.
5. Have some breathing space
Yes, have some breathing space. Spend some moments of silence when you can breathe new life into your system or more energy. Breathing does this. Bring more energy into your system.
You can go to the park and do your breathing exercises so nature can help replenish you. You can have some moments of silence apart from the kids. There is no harm in making them watch their favorite movie so you can have your own breathing space.
Make sure that during the day, you have some moments when you can be alone. No matter how short this is, this is a special moment for you, and when done regularly, you'll be surprised at its cumulative effect on your life. You will not be overwhelmed by life as often happens in our hectic world.
6. Take charge of your own life
Take charge. Do not let others set the plan for you. This schedule can so quickly happen. Your husband, your children, and many others in your family will only be too happy to do this. Do not let them.
Taking charge does not mean you have to close the door to these people you love. Not at all. It is just that you set your day and take charge. If you want to do errands for them, do so because you choose to do so, not because you feel you are obliged to do so and then start complaining about how thoughtless they are.
Be very clear, first, to yourself. What you do is what you choose to do.
7. Share the happiness
Yes, when you share your happiness, you multiply it. You'll find that you become happier. Give someone in the street a smile, an encouraging word, and an extra hand when carrying things.
Open the door for people as you go to a store. These are just the little things we can easily do to share our joy. And don't forget, be generous in your sharing.
Read more on personal happiness and success:
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