You may not want to believe this, but it is true - you control your happiness. That’s right! Whether you like to admit it or not, there is no one else responsible for your well-being or happiness other than you. So often I hear, “that’s easier said than done.” Trust me, I know because I’ve been there. I want to share some tips on how to work emotional well-being and happiness daily in ways that might surprise you.

1. Choose to be happy

Your mind is very powerful. And the language, the words you use inside your mind and the ones that come out of your mouth, shape your reality. You choose to allow yourself to wallow in the pain when you let your mind spiral out of control. You can also make the choice to shift beyond the obstacles and uncover the happiness and joy that already exists within you. You don’t have to find it - you allow it to come to the surface.

2. Understand what makes you happy

Honestly, I don’t think enough of us know the answer to this. We live each day so focused on becoming people who are supposed to conform, perform, and produce academically and professionally, that we have lost sight of exactly who we are. Many people believe that it is status, power, or material possessions that will make them happy. But it really isn’t. Allow yourself to get very still and ponder with curiosity, “Who am I really?” At the very core of you, what brings you joy?

3. Take time to enjoy the simple things

Life can get pretty complicated sometimes and simply getting things done becomes the focus. What makes you close your eyes and breathe a deeply contented, happy sigh while enjoying one of life’s moments of peace and joy? Take a moment to enjoy the truly simple yet wonderful moments in life on a regular basis.

4. Change your thinking

Your self-talk can make or break you. Negative self-talk can make challenging circumstances turn into suffering. You can’t control everything that happens in life but you can control how you respond to it. And the first place of action is in your mind. Reframe all those negative worse case scenario doomsday gloomy predictions turning them into positive planning and look for solutions instead of dead ends.

5. Be forgiving

Unresolved anger for past hurts is a surefire way to kill your happiness. It takes a significant amount of energy to hold on to angry feelings and you will be robbed of all joy. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that whatever happened was right or your fault. It has nothing to do with who is responsible for whatever hurt you experienced. Forgiveness allows you to take back your power. Being forgiving means putting the pain and suffering where it rightly belongs - in the past. This then allows you to move forward with your life without the baggage of the anger weighing you down. You’ll then be back in charge and free.

6. Get some perspective

It may sound cliché, but truthfully if you change your outlook and attitude by focusing on what can go well, is going well, and has gone well, you really will change everything about the way you look and feel about your life. When faced with challenges, the viewfinder through which we look at our life and circumstances can become very small and focused on the negative. You can become conditioned to “expect” things to go wrong. Remember that like a phoenix, you can rise up from any fall, misstep, tragedy or failure.

7. Have fun

Life is a journey and it peaks and valleys somewhat like a rollercoaster. When you learn to live in the here and now you can be present and enjoy the ride. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Have fun getting outside that box of your comfort zone you exist in. Do something you’ve always wanted to do, but either never had the courage or thought it would be this thing you do someday - when you have time. Make fun a priority in your life. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to take care of you. It will give you the fuel you need to keep going when challenges arise.

8. Surround yourself with positive people

If you’re prone to struggling with being positive, limit contact with others who encourage a pattern of negative thinking. If you feel like your energy is being drained around certain people or have friends who love having a pity party, it’s time for some new people in your life. Seek out friends and family who are living the kind of life you are envisioning. You want to be around people who will uplift you, energize you and are joys to be around. They say you become like the five people you hang around with the most – so choose wisely.

9. Be grateful

Each day, spend some quiet time thinking about all the things you have to be grateful for and write them down in a journal. Write down things about yourself, your day, your life and the people you love and care for. Keep the words only positive and spend time really reflecting. Then, each and every time you find yourself stuck focusing on a negative perspective, that you can’t shake, get out your journal. Remind yourself of all the good around you. Focus on these things until the negative thoughts pass.

10. Random Acts of Kindness

When you help others you are really helping yourself because it keeps you anchored in happiness. Each and every day you have numerous opportunities to interact with other people. Because you really have no idea what’s truly going on in their lives stop assuming that their life is perfect and how you treat them won’t matter. In every instance, you have a chance to practice being kind and compassionate, and paying it forward. When practicing kindness, do so from a place of generosity and without expectation of anything in return. Showing kindness can be as simple as a note of appreciation and gratitude to someone who has helped you in some way. Let the people you care about know how much they matter and are appreciated. In addition, practice being kind to yourself with your words and actions.

Happiness isn’t something you have to go searching for. It exists within you. The vice grip that negativity and pain have on your heart will loosen and joy and happiness will be set free. And before you know it, you won’t be trying to be happy, you will be happy because you will have the freedom to enjoy the rollercoaster of life.

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