I am often asked why I am so happy. In fact, I’ve been stopped by complete strangers who ask me why I’m smiling. When they ask, “What is making you so happy?” my answer is always the same: I am grateful for today. I am grateful to be alive.
But achieving this level of happiness didn’t come easily. Like everyone else, I’ve experienced my share of personal tragedies and challenges. However, after deep reflection and consistently striving to shift my perspective, I have come to more deeply appreciate life’s journey and all the good things it has to offer. Here are my three tips for helping you to do the same.
1. Live with intention.
I focus on being intentional every day. It starts with recognizing that time on this earth is to be valued and lived. Tomorrow is never promised, and time never stops for anyone. That’s why I am mindful in using my time to build up myself and others, to spread joy and happiness.
Happiness for me is taking time to serve and love others. For example, I enjoy giving small but personal gifts to those who I love, just to let that person know that I appreciate them. I also choose to send texts or call my kids for the simple purpose of sharing my love for them.
So, what does living with intention look like for you? Starting with small, intentional acts on a daily basis will help to create a richer and more rewarding life.
2. Live in the now.
Life unfolds in the present. But how often do we let the present slip away, rushing past our current blessings while worrying about the future or the past? So many people put off going on a trip, investing in self-care, celebrating, or doing something they love. I live daily with the thought to enjoy “right now.” I say, eat the cake, dance, enjoy your favorite foods, go to the movie, and stop postponing the things that bring you joy. Why not do what you can to make yourself and others smile right now?
So often, we wait for the special occasion—the birthday or holiday—to give to others. But I no longer wait to share from the heart. When those special occasions arise, I like to take my family on trips and give them experiences rather than monetary gifts. It is quite normal for parents to leave money to their children upon their deaths, but it is my belief that it’s best to spend the money now so we can enjoy more experiences together and to create priceless memories.
3. Live with gratitude.
Living each day with gratitude allows us to mentally focus on the good for a few minutes and actively enjoy our experiences. How do we experience more happiness? We start to look at our experiences with appreciation and joy. It’s the little things. Savor a meal. Go for a walk and seek out the beauty in nature. Pay attention to what’s happening in your present moment with true appreciation.
When my husband was fighting cancer, I knew that my happiness and my kids’ happiness did not depend on his diagnosis. We chose to look for the good in the worst of circumstances and find happiness despite the situation. We decided as a family to be grateful for each day that we had left with him.
Even though he was not well, his attitude was overflowing with gratitude. He only wanted time with us, and we felt the same. He enjoyed the simple act of watching Family Feud with me by his side. Even during his hardest days, he recognized the good that each moment offered. He chose to give thanks for each day remaining and to be happy with his family.
When we are more aware of our lives, we are able to recognize and enjoy more of the good things. So, live in the present moment with intention and gratitude, energy and enthusiasm. This is the gift you can give to yourself and others every day.
If we look for the good in people, the good in life, then we will find it.
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