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Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Many people are having a tough time these days. The economy is hurting and now we’re hearing about the swine flu epidemic. It can really get you down. That’s why I’m thrilled to have Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D., author of over 50 books, including her new one, Want It, See It, Get It! as my guest. She gives an overview of her 12 principles of happiness no matter what’s going on.

You Can Be Happy, Even in Difficult Times
by Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D.

As each day brings more and more bad news about the state of the world, you could use an antidote to today’s doom and gloom to rejuvenate yourself.

What? Try applying the principles of happiness to whatever is happening in your life today, so you can enjoy whatever you are doing and get rid of your feelings of stress. The 12 principles of happiness are listed below. Think about them each day, so you regularly apply them; perhaps keep them on a list you see regularly, so they stick in your mind. Eventually, this way of experiencing happiness will become a habit and way of life, so you enjoy every day, no matter what happens. It’s an outlook that will help to drive away fear and other negative feelings towards work and your economic future.

1. First cultivate love, which is often called the “root of happiness” and the polar opposite of fear. To do so, remind yourself to experience and express appreciation for the work, friends, and significant others you have in your life. Focus on what you have now or will have, so you feel gratitude, not on what you don’t have or used to have, causing you to feel a sense of loss.

2. Be optimistic. To this end, put any painful experiences by letting them go or thinking about how you can learn from whatever difficulties you encounter. Optimism can also help you overcome any regrets for the past and lead you to feel confident about what the future will bring.

3. Cultivate courage by actively embracing challenges as a way to overcome feelings of fear.

4. Remind yourself that you always have the freedom to choose whatever the situation. Should you feel stuck where you are, think of the different ways you might remake yourself and do something different; consider how you might adapt your skills to respond to today’s economic situation.

5. Be proactive, so you shape your own destiny, rather than waiting for other people or events to make you happy. Think about what you can change or do differently to reshape what you are doing now.

6. Gain security by liking and accepting who you are, so you have an inner sense of assurance, since everything else in life changes. So seek security come from within, not from outer attributes, such as money or popularity.

7. Take steps to be in good health, because you need to feel healthy to be happy, while feeling happy will contribute to your good health.

8. Have a sense of spirituality, which means being open to experiences beyond your everyday life, rather than having a particular religious faith. This sense of spirituality can then help you feel secure and give you a feeling of strength and purpose, so you are better able to weather difficulties you encounter in daily life.

9. Embrace and express altruism, since you will gain great satisfaction through giving to others and feeling connected to them; it will help you have a sense of purpose. By contrast, overly self-absorbed people are generally not truly happy.

10. Cultivate a sense of perspective, so you are better able to distinguish between big and small problems and prioritize what is more and less important, rather than being rigid. This way you can put your current difficulties into a larger context. For instance, you might view current economic uncertainties as a time of change preparing you to move on to newer more satisfying work in the future.

11. Look on whatever happens with a sense of humor , which will help you lighten up and move past current difficulties.

12. Have a sense of purpose, which will give meaning to your life. It will enable you to feel satisfied that you are doing what you were meant to do.

Now that you know the 12 happiness principles, think about how you might apply them in your work and life. You may find you are already using many of these principles. But now pay attention to how and when you are using them, so you appreciate yourself for what you are already doing – an example of the first principle: love, whereby you show appreciation for yourself.

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Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D. is the author of over 50 books and a seminar and workshop leader, specializing in work relationships and professional and personal development. Her latest books include Want It, See It, Get It! and Enjoy! 101 Little Ways to Add Fun to Your Work Everyday, both from AMACOM. Read them for more insights on how to be happy. Gini’s websites are: www.workwithgini.com and www.ginigrahamscott.com.

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