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sowing happy

Have you ever felt like you were playing a game of peek-a-boo with happiness?  One minute, you are stoked and swimming in happy thoughts and feelings.  The next minute, you can’t figure out why you are sad and why things just aren’t going your way.   I sure do.  Sometimes I wonder if that’s normal.

I want to tip the scales of happiness and work on the bursting with enthusiasm side more.  I want to tend my happy garden to sow more seeds of delight and toss out the weeds that entangle my life.  I believe that happiness has to be cultivated.  I think happy people have to work at it–just like anything else.

So, here are 10 Ways to Bring On the Happy:

1.  Continue to count my blessings every day.  I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal (you can check it out HERE) as a daily reminder of all the little gifts in my life RIGHT NOW.  What an eye-opener to see the abundance of lovely things and people in my life.

2. Think about people and moments that evoke happy thoughts.  Without fail, when I focus on these mental images, I’m transported to a happier moment.  Usually these thoughts inspire me to write letters, post notes on Facebook, and call loved ones to tell them that I’m thinking of them.

Happy 101

3.  Surround myself with people who are positive and uplifting.  I am drawn to people who smile, show kindness, use encouraging words, and think of others.   I like to be around people who choose to see the good in others.    They are like vitamins–good for me!  Likewise, there are some go-to people I can count on when I log on to Facebook who will post articles, stories, and statuses that lift my spirits and makes me smile.  Conversely, I’ve hidden the profiles of those who are constantly negative.  To be clear, I’m not avoiding sadness as I know that’s just part of life (and its also healthy to be able to process these feelings).  I just don’t like to see people wallowing in complaints day after day who are blessed beyond measure but haven’t stopped whining long enough to realize it!

4.  Serve those in need.  Whenever I was going through my radiation treatments, I became very aware of other cancer survivors.   The experience heightened my awareness that there are so many other people facing bigger problems and health issues than me.  It was a humbling experience and reminded me of how we are all part of something much bigger.  We can do so much–even if its as little as a simple smile and message to say “you are important”.

5.  Be the kind of person others WANT to be around.  There are periods of the past that I reflect on and cringe because I was the Debbie Downer of the group.  I’m a little surprised by those long time friends that stuck it out with me even when I was stuck in a rut of misery.  Then again, I have some amazing friends!  Bottom line:  if you spend all your days complaining and spreading negativity, don’t be surprised when people bail.  No one needs toxic friends.  Instead, build people up and find something special about everyone you meet.

6.  Connect with nature.  There is just no way to stay in a bad mood when you take the time to notice all the natural beauty beckoning to you.  The shade of the sky, the brilliant colors of a sunrise or sunset, the variety of birds, flowers, trees, landscapes….all of it majestic and FREE!  Stop and listen–do you hear the beautiful melody the birds are creating?

God's gifts are viewable EVERY day!

God’s gifts are viewable EVERY day!

7.  Turn up the music and dance.  Music is always my mood pick-me-up.  I play songs with a beat that gets me moving.  When I’m having a bad day, I crank up the volume and dance all around my house.  Sure, my kids think I’m nuts but 9 times out of 10, I feel better and get them dancing with me.  Is it just me or is late 80s rap just MADE for days like these???  Go ahead, cut a rug.  I DARE you not to smile!

8.  Create, create, create!  Find some way to tap into your creative juices.  Take up painting, make an art project with your child, design a space in your house, build something, take fun photos, play with an art app on your phone, or write a story.  Truly, your options are endless!  If your mind is focused on creating, it can’t possibly be focused on the blues.  : )

Create your own sunshine

Create your own sunshine

9.  Pick an occasion and celebrate!  Invite friends to join you.  I’m a life-celebrater–I decorate for holidays like its my job.  I love to bring a festive atmosphere to my home.  I want my boys to remember that we had a lot of fun and shared a lot of laughs.  We don’t spend a lot of money–we keep our decorations, food, and crafts simple.  It’s about finding time to be intentionally happy!

10.  Pray, meditate, study scripture–take time to understand your life’s purpose.   You were created to be YOU and nobody else.  Figure out how you can enhance your family, your community, your world.  Seek spiritual guidance in understanding your role.

So those are my top ten ways I’m going to nurture my happiness garden.  I’ll pray for many blooming, beautiful moments and be grateful for the occasional rain showers that help me continue to grow.