Happiness is out there, waiting for you

Practicing to be happy is like any other pursuit. The more you practice the better you get. And who doesn’t want to be happier? So how do you get more joy in your life? Turns out there are some tried and true techniques for upping your happiness quotient that are quite simple to introduce into your daily routine. The payoff is worth it!

The first thing that is recommended is that you surround yourself with as many positive and happy people as you can. Of course, we don’t always have a choice in our associates, especially at work or if you attend meetings where the agenda may control the atmosphere. But as much as possible, be selective in your choice of friends and associates so that you can relax and be happy in their company.

Now, if there are family members or work mates that are “Debbie Downers” you can either choose to limit your interaction with them or put on what I call the “cloaking device.”

Remember “Star Trek?” Remember how when things got dicey Captain Kirk would shield the Enterprise and themselves against danger? You can use a mental shield against negativity by simply raising a barrier between you and the negativity surrounding you. If that doesn’t work, go to Warp Factor Five to carry the analogy further and get out of there!

Another technique that you can use to raise your level of happiness is to simply notice the nice positive things going on around you and focus on those things. Be appreciative of the smile someone gives you or the person who lets you into traffic.

Those are nice occurrences that should be celebrated by a little internal boost of happiness.

Even savoring the taste of your morning coffee, or the smell of it, can up your spirits. Just be open to the positive experiences … the fresh morning breeze, the sun on the ocean, the flowers blooming and so on. Again, to carry the practice a little further, comment on these small positive events either to yourself or to others by stating how great the coffee smells or how beautiful the sunset might be.

An additional way of noticing the happy times and joy inducing moments or events is to take a photo. This way you are very actively looking for things to photograph and perhaps share on social media or however you share your pictures.

By sharing your photos, you will find out who else is on the happiness wave length and you can cultivate a correspondence based on the pursuit of happiness and joy.

The flip side of all of this is to also avoid negative observances and the expression of negative or critical statements.

There is always a way to couch a learning opportunity in a positive framework that is an art that will not only increase your own positive outlook but also be much appreciated by those around you.

Music is a medium that definitely affects one’s outlook and mindset. Fill your head with upbeat happy tunes and lyrics rather than negative or hateful music. Your mind absorbs and focuses on whatever you present to it, so if you want to be happy, surround yourself with happy options in all that you do and particularity in the musical choices that you select.

Activity creates endorphins and “feel-good “hormones in your body as does consuming delicious and nourishing food. Mental, emotional and physical health all support and substantiate each other, so to truly be healthy in the fullest sense one must pursue all three aspects.

I invite you to look for joy in your life, to create more sensitivity to the things that bring you joy and to help others be joyful by sharing your own sense of happiness. aloha!

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Dr. Jane Riley, Ed.D., is a certified personal fitness trainer, nutritional adviser and behavior change specialist. She can be reached at janerileyfitness@gmail.com, 212-8119 cell/text and www.janerileyfitness.com.

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