Let’s talk about how to make happiness a habit. One does not have to go far to find people who are depressed, dejected, and lonely. Are you generally disappointed with your life? If you can recall a simpler time in your past when happiness came easily, when you lived in the present, and mindfulness was a way of life, stop and savor those memories for a moment. Happiness is not out of reach. It has always been right beside you, patiently waiting for you to notice.
If you have ever sought counseling for depression, you already know that you must find a way to say goodbye to old habits and thought patterns while creating new ones. The prescription for happiness is not a drug, rather, it is in cultivating a new way of thinking. Happiness is a skill that is learned. Happiness may only be a symptom of a life lived purposefully, on point. Whatever occurred to tip you off balance is not important. If it has been a struggle to lift yourself out from a period of depression, you may be trying too hard. There is absolutely nothing another person can do to make you happy. Practice achieving a state of mindfulness, a relaxed awareness of only the present moment. Deep breathing may facilitate a relaxed state, so be patient with yourself and just breathe.
Intentionally notice the good things present in your life, notice how this feels, and savor these feel-good thoughts for as long as possible. Next, practice being thankful for your life, for the lessons you have learned, and all the things that you have become. When you practice expressing gratitude, you will begin to notice your connection to other people, to nature, and to the blessings waiting for you. We don’t need a designated holiday to think about being grateful for our gifts.
Practice being generous. Start by giving yourself time to take stock of your blessings, then share them with another for no particular reason. The act of giving benefits the giver as well as the receiver. Notice someone near you that appears to need help, then freely offer it. When it is spontaneous, unexpected and random, giving of ones self may yield more endorphines than running a few miles.