if-you-want-to-be-happy“If you want to be happy, be.”

                                             Leo Tolstoy

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays girlfriends! I truly hope this has been a season of happiness for you, as everyone wishes it will be. Even so, the world, fate, and life in general, do not run off a calendar. I know that there are a lot of you that are having trouble finding anything to be happy about right this minute.

And that’s OK.

If you’ve followed us in our weekly look at happiness – what it is, how to get it, how to keep it, how to give it away, and what to do when there’s none to be found – you’ve likely realized that happiness is both an amazingly complex and incredibly simple thing.

Today’s Tolstoy quote leans toward the simpler concept of happiness; that’s the one I ascribe to. I’m all for keeping things simple. I know over the past year that we have taken some pretty deep dives into the subject of happiness. We’ve looked at how food and surroundings and friends and neurochemical reactions and attitudes can hinder or enhance our happy state. Through it all, there are several, simple, recurring truisms which seem to lead to the same place: our happiness.

  1. Be present – aka Be In The Moment

This is not a new concept. But I will admit that before I began to focus on it, my thoughts go to what happened last year, or ten minutes ago, or what was going to happen next year, or ten minutes from now. All of which I have no control over. What we can affect or control is the moment we are in. We can choose to be happy in that moment.

  1. Give What You Have Away

There is happiness in giving. Whether it’s your money or your time, there is a sense of fulfillment in helping others. That is simply human nature and something we can consciously plan for to create our own happiness. Financially support a charity, give your time to someone who needs it. I have a friend who would not be without a pickup truck because she always wants to be in a position to help someone who needs a truck because it makes her happy. You certainly don’t need to go to that extreme, but you get the idea.

  1. Do Not Want, But Admire

Money can’t buy happiness. We’ve found that wealthy people who have much are some of the unhappiest people we know. We all have stuff, and it doesn’t matter how much stuff we have, it’s easy to think that more stuff and better stuff will make us happier. It does not. If we replace greed and envy with admiration and appreciation for what other people have or have accomplished, we can be happy in their success without the need to keep up with the Joneses.

  1. Gratitude Every Day

This is perhaps the simplest and most important pathway to happiness you can travel. Find something every day you are alive to be grateful for – even if it’s just the next breath of air you breathe. An attitude of gratitude makes us humble, and humility is a sense of peace that is integral to happiness.

  1. Get Rid Of The “If/Then” In Your Thinking

If I make more money then I will be happy. If I get a better job then I will be happy. If I lose weight then I will be happy. The “happy” associated with if/then thinking is at best, fleeting. It lasts about as long it takes to come up with the next if/then goal. It’s not a bad thing to want a nicer car, a better job or to make more money – just don’t rely on it as a basis for your ultimate happiness.

In the end, I believe that if I want to be happy, it is completely up to me to be. It is no different than being a successful athlete, a skilled musician, a leader of industry, or a really good girlfriend. You need to do the things that are shown to lead to happiness as often and as fully as you can. You need to put in the time and effort to get out the benefit. Personally, I’ve found that a great deal of my happiness is directly related to my relationships with my girlfriends. Those friendships are something I work on in some way every day. Because they make me happy.

Have a HAPPY holiday season girlfriends! The New Year and all its opportunities for happiness are just around the corner.

For even more Happiness 🙂