Learning to be happy

Today is International Happiness Day, established in recognition of the importance of happiness as a goal and aspiration in people’s lives.

I fully believe that joy is always the best way to go forward, and while I don’t want to minimize many people’s struggles to be happy amidst a sea of challenges, what I’ve been exploring is that happiness is a state of being that can actually be learned, primarily through changing one’s outlook and reframing of negative thinking. Our minds are predisposed to criticize and make us feel anxious. What if we decided to start from a place of peace – even if we have to construct and work at it?

Of course, this is easier said than done, and like most big changes we want to make in our lives, it takes regular practice. For me, this has been through daily affirmations, positive thinking and actively asking the universe – and people – for what I want. I’ve also learned the value and power of deep breathing and mindfulness, while also feeling gratitude and hope and expressing kindness in action.

 There are always going to be obstacles and setbacks, but just by choosing to be happy – to view experiences with the prospect of a positive outcome – has helped me to try new ventures and has given me more energy and determination to succeed at them.

Most of all, I would say, give yourself time. Our feelings can change by the hour and fluctuate with the seasons, but what better way to start anew on the first day of Spring, also today. By chance (?) this afternoon, I saw my first snowdrops of the year, and after a prolonged, wintry darkness, I feel life is stirring all around, and for the first time in a long time, within me too. Take faith in the return of light and choose a path of happiness and let it lead you to a burgeoning future.

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