5 ways to cultivate happiness

Happiness is a person choice that we make everyday. Your choices, thoughts and actions can influence your level of happiness. Below are some great tips for cultivating happiness:

1. Surround yourself with happy people. Being around people who are content buoys your own mood. And by being happy yourself, you give something back to those around you.

2. Express gratitude. Gratitude is more than saying thank you. It’s a sense of wonder, appreciation and, yes, thankfulness for life. Make a commitment to practice gratitude. Each day identify at least one thing that enriches your life. When you find yourself thinking an ungrateful thought, try substituting a grateful one. Let gratitude be the last thought before you go off to sleep. Let gratitude also be your first thought when you wake up in the morning.

3. Cultivate optimism. Develop the habit of seeing the positive side of things. If you’re not an optimistic person by nature, it may take time for you to change your pessimistic thinking. Start by recognizing negative thoughts as you have them.

4. Find your purpose. Having a goal provides a sense of purpose, bolsters self-esteem and brings people together. What your goal is doesn’t matter as much as whether the process of working toward it is meaningful to you. Try to align your daily activities with the long-term meaning and purpose of your life.

5. Live in the moment. Don’t postpone joy waiting for a day when your life is less busy or less stressful. That day may never come. Instead, look for opportunities to savor the small pleasures of everyday life. Focus on the positives in the present moment. Don’t spend your time rehashing the past or worrying about the future. Take time to stop and smell the flowers.