Self-help is a big business in this country, and every bookstore holds a thousand guides that claim to know the secret steps that life requires in order to deliver a state of contented perfection. However, you don’t have to know any secrets to be happy; just take some common sense steps to infuse your life with joyful moments, which will soon become part of who you are.
Aphorisms are often tuned out because we have heard them all before, and people tend to just spit them out like platitudes when they can’t think of anything else to say. However, there is truth behind each cliché, aka, common sense happiness
- See the world through rose-colored glasses. Maybe you don’t want hot pink lenses, but make sure the tinting on your gray or brown shades has a slight pink tone to it. Life will look warmer and more beautiful to you with them on; sunsets will be richer, mountains will be redder and faces will look more alive.
- Stop to smell the roses. Whenever you pass a rose, whether wild roses in a bush near the beach, cut roses in an arrangement in a hotel lobby or stacks of dozens in the discount store, stop. Smell them. Look at their beauty, and feel their soft petals. Walk away a little lighter.
- Look on the bright side. Sunshine has a potent power to make you happy. When walking down the street, choosing a table at a restaurant or finding a chair at the party, find the bright side and put yourself in it. The sunshine will lift your spirits and the warmth will make you feel warmer inside. Don’t just look on the bright side, live on it too.
- When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Lemons on sale at the grocery store? Buy a bag, and make fresh lemonade: Juice them, removing the seeds and add fresh water, sugar and ice until the mix is perfect. Enjoy, or even better, take a jug and some cups to a group of people working outside and share the sunshine.
- Laugh at yourself. Out loud, and often. Catch yourself preening a little too hard in the mirror? Spill an entire cup of coffee all over your desk? Some jerk stole your parking spot while you were daydreaming? Laugh at yourself and at life - out loud. Laughter is powerful and can turn potentially ugly situations into the lighter side of life.
- Go to your happy place. You probably have a “happy place” that you zone out and enjoy visiting mentally during stressful tests or boring office meetings. Perhaps it’s the beach, an undiscovered forest cave, the dance floor at a party or around a big dinner table with friends. Whatever your happy place is, make sure you also visit it in real life too, in order to feed your imagination and refuel your spirit.
- Count your blessings. Get a piece of paper, number the front side and start writing down all the things you have to be thankful for in life, from healthy vision to a roof over your head to killer eyelashes to the color green. Once you fill the front page up, flip it over and keep going. Add pages and add to the list every day to remind yourself that despite your problems, you actually have it pretty good in this world.
- Every cloud has a silver lining. Rained in on a yucky, dreary day that you would rather be outside? Look up at the clouds, and try to find that silver lining. It is beautiful, and this slice of sparkling sky would not exist if it never rained. Every time you see rain clouds in the sky, search for this silver lining, and soon you will be doing the same in other areas of your life as well.
- Let go. Often we are holding on to negative thoughts from past situations because despite the fact that they are unhealthy, those thoughts still provide a connection to something you once loved… a boy, a place or a job. What are you holding on to? Literally let it go. Find physical remnants of the situation you need to let go of, and get rid of them. Burn love notes, trash relics from an old job and recycle anything else that used to work in your life but no longer does. Let go, and you will feel physically lighter.
- Chin up. Hold your head up when you wander this earth. No need to be snobby, but walking around with your head down and gaze lowered not only signals to the world that you are slightly depressed and a person to be avoided, but it also makes you feel worse about yourself. So chin up! Things are never as bad as they seem, and you can be happy - it’s common sense.