Here's how I changed my entire existence in one day and with one thought: I decided and chose to be happy. Please don't read this or write this off as being sappy. I am absolutely 100% serious about how easy it can be to choose happiness if you're willing to give it a try.
There are a lot of books out on this topic right now. Yet, I have never read any of them. "Why would I need that?" I thought that to myself on numerous occasions. But I noticed I was often moody, sometimes happy, and sometimes, far from it. I saw that my state of mind was often based on what was happening or not happening in my daily life. And then my moment of truth came.
I remembered I used to be happy most of the time. It was a rather startling insight, but nonetheless true. I used to laugh a lot. I was naturally optimistic; I saw the glass as half full, and years ago, people would always tell me I was one of the happiest people they knew.
Sound familiar? If you've felt grumpy, edgy, or confused lately, maybe it's time to make new choices and changes in your life to be happier. Take a moment and re-evaluate the areas of your life where you can use a boost of happiness: love life, career, home life, social life. Remember how it wasn't always like this.
Recalling moments where your soul was happiest can be enlightening when you don't use it against yourself. Don't build a case, judge or make yourself feel wrong. Use it to make a deliberate choice that will make your life better; it's a great idea.
I created a daily practice of being happy every day for as long as possible by noticing things I could appreciate. And with that one little thought and one little choice, my life changed. Today, I didn't mind standing in line to board Southwest Airlines, because I looked for something that made me happy. Seeing a few kids playing on the floor brought a smile instantly to my face.
Now, I mine for more pearls and moments of happiness throughout my day. I notice that as I feel happier and more grateful for my blessings that the rest of my life takes shape. Think about it… when you are grateful, it's hard to be unhappy. For example, you can decide to be happy with your body today. Not because it's the ideal shape or size, but because it's healthy and strong.
Could it be better? Sure. But to be happy today and accept yourself now may help you eat less and even exercise more. Inner happiness and acceptance can provide many perks. So what can you be happy about right now? Here are five easy practices you can do on a daily basis to bring more happiness and joy to your life:
1. Create a happiness scale. Check in at the end of the day to see how happy you were today compared to yesterday. What things made you happy? What things upset you or threw you off? Watch for patterns and correct as necessary.
2. Put yourself on the priority list. You deserve happiness in your life. Don't let negative self-talk sabotage your happiness. Before you can ever find true happiness in your life, you need to embrace and accept the idea that you are worthy of happiness.
3. Discover your purpose and passion in life. When we feel like we are connected to our purpose and are living a purpose-driven life, happiness will follow. Your sense of worth will shoot through the roof and you will feel more connected to your soul.
4. Don't depend on others to make you happy. Learn to take responsibility for your own happiness. If you are dependent on someone else's actions in order to be happy, you will always feel like something is missing. Take control of your own happiness.
5. Make a commitment to take better care of yourself. Eat better, exercise more, give something up, and get more sleep. Being more rested is just one tiny adjustment that can greatly affect your mood and level of happiness.
Happiness is the hardest thing to measure since it fluctuates and can vary from day to day. Happiness has a mind of its own sometimes, and something what made you happy five years ago may not be what will make you happy today. Our priorities change and we are constantly facing different challenges from day to day. Try not to compare your happiness today to the happiness in your past.
Most importantly, remember that it's your choice to be happy, and a little practice can go a long way in reconnecting us to what matters now.
This story was provided by our content partner, YourTango, a digital media company dedicated to love and relationships. No matter what love stage our users are in — single, taken, engaged, married, starting over, or complicated — we help them live their best love lives. Written by Marcia Wieder.