It isn't what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about. Dale CarnegieI was surprised to read some happiness facts this morning that got me to wondering -- why are so many people in the world unhappy?
- Americans consider happiness more important to them than money, moral goodness, and even going to Heaven.* King. L. A. & Napa, C. K. (1998). What makes a life good? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 156-165
- On average, Americans are only 69 percent happy. Seligman, M.E.P, 2002, Authentic Happiness, New York: Free Press
- The world population is, on average, less than 65 percent happy. World Values Survey, 1995-1997
- 37 percent of the people on Forbes list of Wealthiest Americans are less happy than the average American. Diener, E. Horowitz, J. & Emmons, R. A. (1985). Happiness of the very wealthy. Social Indicators Research, 16, 263-274.
- Fourteen percent of the nations on Earth are less than fifty percent happy.
Deiner E., Fujita F., & Sandvik E. (1994) What subjective well-being researchers can tell emotion researchers about affect. In N. Frijda (Ed.). Proceedings of the 8th meeting of the International Society for Research on Emotions (pp. 30-35), Storrs, CT: ISRE Publications
Thousands of years ago, Aristotle wrote, "Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence."
It makes me happy just thinking about the fact that something someone wrote so long ago still exists in our literature today.
It doesn't take a lot to make me aware of my happiness.
- Lying in bed listening to the birds twitter outside the window.
- Rolling over and seeing C.C's sleeping face beside me.
- Hearing Ellie's footsteps, where ever she is in the house
- Knowing Ellie is sleeping on her mat at the end of our bed
- The smell of fresh ground coffee in the morning
- The blue sky up above
- The feel of cool cotton sheets against my skin
- The smell of clean sheets
- Opening the front door and finding the newspaper on the doorstep
- The site of a black squirrel hopping across the grass outside my window
- The silence of the house at sleep in the morning
- The laughter of my daughters
- The sound of T.C. playing his guitar
and the list goes on....
The benefits of increased happiness are substantial. Researchers have found that people who are happier are more likely to live longer, have more rewarding and successful jobs, be more cooperative, sociable and charitable, have stronger immune systems and experience less depression, suicide and paranoia... to name a few!
Happiness levels can be adjusted. To 'be happy' we need to adjust our attitude. Shake up our thinking. We need to focus on what makes our life rich and vibrant versus what detracts from feelings of goodness throughout our day.
So, here's my invitation to you today. Stop and think about your happiness. Are you feeling, happy or sad? If you're sad, remember to Breathe. Open yourself up, do not contract. Breathe. Be aware of what's going on in your body and Breathe.
Keep a list during the day of things that make you happy.
C.C. just woke up and came into my office to give me a good-morning kiss. That makes me happy!
Ellie padded along behind him, butted his thigh when she didn't get her attention too! My smile makes me feel happy.
A bunny just hopped across the road, bounding off to some agenda I have no idea about.
See, in just a few moments of sitting at my desk, happiness infused my being.
Start your list. Keep it with you all day long and get in touch with your happiness. If your thoughts turn to monkey chatter, "I have no idea what makes me happy. How can I feel happy when I just lost my job. What's there to be happy about. What a silly idea. I don't care about being happy..." make a note of your distress, and smooth it over with a happy thought.
Don't let the unhappies rob you of the gift of joy.
We all deserve to be happy. And if we're not, we're still 100% accountable for our journey through life. I'd rather my contribution to the world around me be filled with love and laughter than sorrow and tears. If I'm unhappy, it's up to me to do something about it, because, whatever I'm feeling, I affect the world around me.
My prayer today: Let my impact be a wave of joy that resonates in the lives I touch creating ripples of well-being throughout my day.
Here's to a day of budding happiness. Of overflowing cups frothing with abundance, sprinkled with joy and infused with love.
The question is: Are you willing to do something about your mood today? Are you willing to claim joy as your state of being and if necessary, change your state by bringing your awareness to what's good in your world today?