Three Simple Rules

Everyone wants to be happy, but far too many people go through life looking for happiness in all the wrong places. They seek it out in the approval of other people, from the activities that they use to fill our time and in careers that society has told them are supposed to find rewarding. All of these elements can be contributors to a happy or unhappy life, but they are not the source of happiness. What if I told you that you and you alone are in control of your own happiness? Well, my friends, that is exactly what I am here to do. Your happiness is well within your reach, you just need to look within yourself and make some simple shifts to your mindset to find it.

The way that I see it, there are three simple rules to follow to take control of your happiness and, using these rules, you can take small steps every day to create a happier, more rewarding life.

Give the Positive more weight than the Negative. This is simple: your outlook on life can greatly influence your response to the world around you. While you can’t completely avoid the negative forces in the world, by shifting your mindset to focus on the good things happening around you, you remove the power of the small negative influences to impact your life.

When something that you perceive as negative happens, acknowledge it, deal with it as needed, then immediately move on. Don’t dwell on it or give it more of your energy than necessary. When something positive happens in your day, take an extra moment to enjoy it, allow yourself to smile and carry it with you. The more you seek out and acknowledge the small positive moments, the more you will notice them throughout the day.

You are not responsible for the happiness of others. I won’t lie. This one is difficult. We all want to see our loved ones happy and many of us will go to great lengths to put their happiness first...often at the expense of our own. Unfortunately, just as you are responsible for your own happiness, they are responsible for their own and, no matter how hard you work, you will not be able to give the happiness that they will not find for themselves. Ouch...that hurts a bit, doesn’t it?

Now, I’m not suggesting that you should completely disregard the feelings of those around you or cease from doing things that make others happy. I am, however, suggesting that you stop putting pressure on yourself to try to please everyone around you. Do kind things for your loved ones simply because you love them. Be a positive force in their life and don’t hold yourself responsible if they experience unhappiness along the way.

Live with gratitude. This might be my favorite rule...possibly because it is so simple. Be thankful and count your blessings. Do this often. That’s it.

There is so much to be thankful for. Whether you are thankful for physical things like having a home to live in or a nice cup of coffee, or less tangible items like the care of a good friend or a text that came at just the right time, you can find something in your life to be grateful for. No matter how big or small, acknowledge and enjoy these blessings daily and you will begin to see just how amazing your life is.

Exercise: Your Daily Top Ten

Each night before you go to bed, consider taking up the habit of writing your “Top Ten” for the day. Include your top five positive moments and five things that you are thankful for. This brief reflection should take just a few moments and will help your day to end with a focus on all of the good in your life.