Let me make one thing perfectly clear: Happiness is not all butterflies, rainbows and unicorn farts. Butterflies are flighty, rainbows are illusions and unicorn farts...well, need I say more? Happiness is more than a state of mind, it is a state of being, and the more you practice being appreciative of the good things (big or small) that life brings you, the easier happiness will become who you are, and not just something you strive for.
Whether you are young or old, rich or poor - you can start living happier right now. But how do you know when you are truly happy?
1. YOU ARE QUICK TO SMILE - You just feel like smiling at everyone and everything. It's almost like you can't help it. You look people in the eye and engage with them, and you smile! :)
2. YOUR MOOD FEELS ELEVATED - Being happy is almost like being high without the stupid. You just feel "up", you feel empowered, you feel energized.
3. YOU FEEL EXCITED - When you are truly happy, you feel excited by life and its possibilities. Despite setbacks, struggles, and even tragedies, you feel like life is worth living and can't wait for what's coming next.
4. YOU ENJOY PEOPLE - All the people who annoyed the crap out of you before suddenly seem to vanish. The cranky checker at the grocery store, the line of people in front of you at the bank, the driver going waaayyyy too slow on the freeway in front of you. Amazingly, they have no affect on your mood any longer!
5. THE WORLD LOOKS INCREDIBLE - You will start appreciating the world around you and all it's amazing wonders. Ok, that sounded rather unicorn fartish, but it's true. You start noticing more of your natural as well as man-made surroundings, and really appreciating them.
6. YOUR PROBLEMS DIMINISH - Even if you don't see your problems resolving completely right away, your PERSPECTIVE of your problems compared to your life changes significantly, so that you can finally see that trouble is temporary and with a happy heart, it is so much easier to manage.
7. YOU FEEL MORE PATIENT, COMPASSIONATE AND TOLERANT - When you are happy in yourself, truly happy, you discover that you are able to let go of your prejudices. Prejudice is based in fear and anger, so when you are happy, you have no need of it. You are able to let others be who they are because their lifestyles and differences, whether you agree with them or not, have no impact on you or your life.
8. YOU HAVE A DESIRE TO DO FOR OTHERS - This is an important one and was completely unexpected in my own transformation from grump butt to happy freak! When I give happiness away, I actually get MORE in return! Even something as small as a compliment on someone's fantastic smile, or their pretty eyes can not only make their day, but their appreciation of you and the feeling you get from it is elevating all on its own! Try it! Tell a stranger something special about themselves that you notice. Everyone has something to compliment - find it and mention it.
I promise you that if you follow along on this journey, you will discover an entirely new world open up to you. I honestly thought my life was one big dark cloud, and at nearly 50 years old, I am so excited about the prospects of the next stage of my life that I can harldy contain myself. It's NEVER too late to be happy!