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Happiness is overated

Happiness happens when we’re not “trying” so hard, when we’re not totally obsessed with “being happy” but rather living in the natural flow of our soul’s agenda. Happiness is a by-product of being aligned with one’s spirit, living with an open heart, and expressing one’s authentic passion. A fantastic article on happiness versus joy.

7 simple ways to put a smile on your face

We believe that meditation is one of the best ways to achieve happiness. When you meditate you feel happiness, harmony, inner peace and stillness. In the beginning, you will only feel these things vaguely. But as time goes by, these happy states of mind will flood your perceptual awareness.This is a nice article on 7 simple steps you can take to be happy.

10 things to cheer you up

Are you feeling blue? I believe one of the best ways to get out of your blue mood is to go out and do something for someone else. I have volunteered at soup kitchens. You will quickly learn that your life is not as bad as you have imagined.

This article talks about how our daily habits can affect our well-being. Your actions can have a significant effect on your happiness and satisfaction with life. The article gives 10 scientifically proven strategies for getting happy.

Harold, the shoe shine man

Harold Smith is a shoe shine man at an airport in Oklahoma City. You would think being a shoe shine man at an airport probably ranks as one of the worst jobs in the world. But Harold thinks differently.

In a world seemingly possessed by the antics of Mel Gibson or Lindsay Lohan, a society fueled by jealously over what we don’t have, and an economy propelled by overwhelming debt at the personal, corporate and governmental levels, a simple man doing a simple job with dignity is quite striking

Happiness is truly an internal gift. No one can give it to us. No physical possession can substitute for it. Harold has it right — the simple satisfaction we get after a lifetime of serving others is the real key.

I salute Harold and people like him that do their jobs with excellence and enthusiasm. When you put your full focus and heart into your work, whether it is shining shoes or running a company, it is the best job in the world.

Psychology of happiness

We search for happiness but sometimes wonder if we know what it means. When it comes to happiness, it seems like the more emotionally mature humans identify it as a sense of inner stability, contentment and ability to feel joy from even the simplest things in life. Such individuals are continuously making progress and have productive lives while feeling content with where they are. This definition does not have as much to do with what they have outside of themselves as what they hold within, even though somehow individuals who are content seem to achieve more in life.

At the end, the more evolved definition of happiness is not attached to anything specific but is open to life as a whole — it is not an imitation of what others consider happiness, but is personal and creates an inner sense of stability. In order to define what makes us happy we need to learn who we are, what our needs are, what we desire in life, what makes us grow, and what strengths and limitations we have.

I really enjoyed reading this article on happiness. In our meditation classes, we teach that ultimate and true-lasting happiness can only come from meditation. When you meditate you are happy.

Happiness is contagious

Harvard researchers recently published a study suggesting that happiness, and to a much greater extent sadness, can be contagious like diseases. The study examined how emotions can spread from person to person across social networks. It found that when a person is happy, it “infects” his or her friends, increasing by 11 percent those people’s chances of achieving personal happiness themselves. But having just one sad friend can double a person’s chances of being unhappy. Read more to find out.

Michael J. Fox’s excellent adventure

The actor and head of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research traveled around the world and sought out people from all walks of life, searching for the answer to one question. Are some people just more optimistic than others? And if so, why?

Like some of you, I grew up watching Michael played Alex Keaton on Family Ties. Here is an interesting article about him. Check out his book.

4 ways to boost your happiness

We all have days when we feel less than positive. Life seems unduly hard. Work seems unmanageable. Here are some ideas for brightening your mood and taking charge of your happiness:

1. Give thanks. Gratitude could provide the simple attitude adjustment you need, bringing positive emotions to the foreground and pushing negative emotions to the back.

“It’s so easy to focus on what we don’t have,” says Louise Finlayson, a clinical psychologist and life coach with a private practice. “I tell people to think about what they have, versus what they don’t have.”

Finlayson advises patients to think about what they’re grateful for before bed, or stop and refocus their thoughts in the middle of some task that makes them feel resentful.

Turning your mind toward what’s going right rather than what’s wrong can fix your mood almost instantly. Thinking happy thoughts can make a difference. Reorienting your mind toward the good in the world and your own life doesn’t just lift your spirits, it challenges your natural brain chemistry, says Wendy Ball, a licensed mental health counselor and life coach .

“Because of the way our brains process disturbing experiences, negative memories and thoughts are more easily activated than benign, positive ones for many people,” she says.

To stop negative thoughts from intruding on our life, we must deliberately replace them with good thoughts, she says.

2. Take a time out. We get so caught up in the day-to-day, that we forget what we truly want from life. When life begins to feel like one long series of obligations, take a minute to step back and identify what’s working in your life and what’s not.

Review your routine and figure out which tasks you’re doing because you want to, and which you’re doing because you feel you ought to.

Wherever possible, pull out the tasks that are draining or unfulfilling and substitute them with activities that energize you and give you a sense of purpose. This can be as simple as taking an art class or going to the gym regularly — whatever feels good to you. Many people are consumed with work, parenting or other responsibilities, and don’t take time to do the things they enjoy. Deliberately creating space for feel-good activities is important. These activities revitalize us, and connect us with a deep sense of well-being.

3. Turn off the cellphone. We have all become slaves to our electronics. Most of us are attached to one gadget or another all day, and that can leave us feeling scattered and exhausted.

To feel more centered in our lives, we need to “back away from that plugged-in-ness,” she says. Take a break from electronics for a day, or even a week. Turn off the TV. Confine your use of personal gadgets to just 30 minutes a day. Devote that newly found time to rest and relaxation. Find peace through meditation or spending some time outdoors, she says.

4. Take care of unfinished business. “Stuff we haven’t dealt with is a burden,” Ball says. Unpaid bills, unreturned calls, unresolved arguments, unfinished projects these can slow you down and drain your energy. Make that phone call, pay that bill, decide what to do about an unresolved issue, and then do it. Clearing these things off our plates can be amazingly re-energizing.

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