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Finding Happy

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In my old age, I have learned to be grateful for the little things in life.  I’ve also learned to let go of most negative past experiences and forgive those who have wronged me.  Lord knows I’ve probably done my own share of wrong to others over the years.  Mostly, I want to spend my remaining years on earth in peace, harmony and happiness with people I love and enjoy.  In this world gone mad, isn’t that what we all want?  To that end, I made a list of what steps we can take to reach that goal of finding happy.

Practice Forgiveness

Arguments and/or disagreements are rarely one-sided, but it may prove difficult to recognize what we could have changed.  Let go of the anger and hurt for your own well-being.

Practice Kindness to Others

If you want to feel good inside, be kind to others.  Choose particular people or situations where you can give of yourself to improve their day.  Whether it is your spouse or a child or a stranger, just a few kind words can change someone’s outlook and make you feel better, a step toward finding your happy.

Look for Good in Your Life

Losing my younger daughter 2 years ago left me with a deep depression that took months to process.  For 5 ½ weeks after our daughter died, Jim and I operated on automatic pilot.  We delayed a celebration of Elisa’s life until the end of December, because our other children had already planned to be with us then for Jim’s birthday.  We spent the intervening weeks preparing for that, and we struggled to create some semblance of Christmas spirit for the small granddaughter who would be with us for the holiday.

Once we made it through December and the family gathering to celebrate Elisa’s life, it was time for our lives to return to normal, whatever that was.  I admit that it took me a long time to process everything and focus on where we are in life and the many blessings we have in our other children and grandchildren. 

If you experience deep loss, making the effort to find all the good things in your life will help you heal.  Analyze your life, hold onto the good.  Perhaps you will find it necessary to remove negative influences to find your happy.

Hold Onto Your Values

There are days I look around me at the changes in our world, in our country, and our morals and values.  Each generation of young people grows up expressing their needs, speech, music in whatever seems popular at a given time. 

In my youth, boys wore ducktail haircuts, rolled up tee shirt sleeves, often with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths.  Guys copied Elvis; girls screamed and cried over Elvis.  We had our own “lingo” with phrases like “knuckle sandwiches,” cool, groovy, and “cruisin’ for a bruising.’  Guys “burned rubber” in their ’57 Chevys.  And only the few very serious couples or wild girls played “back-seat bingo” with their boyfriends.

Things changed by the time my kids grew up.  Things were “far out” or “the bomb.”  Illegal drugs became a “thing,” and sex with the partner of the moment was the norm.    

Along with the changes in social behaviors, civil unrest that brought forth major, positive changes between the races and threats of world war, personal morals changed.  Young women bared their bodies and touted free sex and in some ways self-respect took a hit.

I won’t get into my feelings and personal beliefs regarding changes. The changes are inevitable in any society.  But dealing with so many can sometimes cause us to lose our way.

Whatever values mattered to you, dig deep and pull them out.  Stand up and live by them.  Accept that they may not matter to anyone else, but they matter to you!  The values and morals that you find important can help you toward that peace and fulfillment in your life and help you find your happy.

Look for Simple Pleasures in Life

When you take the time to look around you, you may find little things that make you feel good.  For Jim and me, that may be sitting at the beach, watching the sun go down.  It gives me the feeling that God is close and maybe all will be well with this world.  I find peace and pleasure in the laughter of a small child or the happy face of a dog. 

Look around you for the simple things in life that bring joy when you take the time to notice them.

Find Your Happy Place

For many years, we brought our family to Florida’s Sanibel Island for Spring Break.  This was my happy place!  Driving over the causeway to the island, I could feel the stress rolling off my shoulders.  It truly felt like my heart was home, and I couldn’t explain why.

Years later, that feeling extended to Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Again, flying into Albuquerque’s airport, renting a vehicle and heading North to “the city different” felt like coming home.  Today, we live in Florida and the beach is my happy place.  I go there to relax and feel a sense of peace wash over me. 

Your happy place may be a specific location like a beach or forest or a city.  But it can also be a state of mind or spending time with special friends, laughing about the old days.

If you haven’t discovered your own happy place, it may be time to reach inside yourself and search.  Spend time with an old friend.  Listen to music that soothes your soul.  Exercise!  Travel!

What is your passion in life?  Mine is writing, something I didn’t realize until I hit 50.  I can lose myself when I’m writing and occasionally, that makes me feel happy and content.  Whatever yours is, use it to your advantage or find something else.

Daydream with a Purpose

I was always a daydreamer.  In my senior year in high school, an English teacher once yelled at me and told me I had a nebulous mind.  Perhaps.  Or perhaps I found my thoughts as I stared out the classroom window more interesting than whatever she was discussing at the time. I do know it calmed me at the time.

Today, I can spend a bit of time daydreaming of different subjects and it relaxes and calms me.  That too is a form of happy.

Don’t hesitate to allow your thoughts to drift toward subjects that calm you.  You may find that daydreaming also boosts your creativity and helps you find your happy.

Lean on Your Faith

In a 2014 “Washington Post” article, Sally Quinn wrote that religious beliefs give people a sense of meaning, well-being or comfort. Isn’t that really what happiness is all about? 

According to a Pew Research in 2019, religious adults, or people who affiliate with a faith group and attend religious services at least once a month, are more likely to be involved in their community and say they’re very happy than those who are religiously inactive or unaffiliated.

Choosing Happy

Happiness isn’t always an intense emotion. It may be simply a calm feeling that all is right in our world.  I believe happiness comes from within us.  Therefore, we must look deep to find what makes up individual happiness.  Perhaps you could choose one small task each day that might ultimately contribute to your own well-being. Reach out and perform an act of kindness to someone else.  Thank God for waking you to enjoy another day.

Count Your Blessings

Each morning when you wake up, decide what you feel grateful for.  Start your day with that gratitude on your mind. Put a smile on your face and choose to find your happy!

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