Happiness is not an exit off the freeway. The only way to reach this destination is to look within yourself. Here are a few tools that may help you find your way. Think of them as a Happiness GPS.
1. Be easily amused. People who laugh and smile are happier and usually live longer than people who lack a sense of humor.
2. Don't dwell on the negative. If there's something wrong, accept it and move through it. Ruminating about how bad life is won't help and can lead to depression. If you can't stop the thoughts, see a professional.
3. Trust that your life has meaning. If it doesn't, or you can't find any at the moment, act as if you have it until you stumble on what really floats your boat.
4. Do something nice for yourself. It doesn't have to cost money or be a big deal. Sometimes just watching the sunset and letting the world go by can be very healing for the soul.
5. Always have something with you to read. This way, you'll never be bored or waste time. When you read, you are both relaxing and learning.
6. Do something for someone else, without expectations. Retrieve the neighbors' garbage cans from the curb. Help a little old lady get her shopping bags into the car. Let someone into traffic. These may seem like insignificant little things, but think how you would feel if someone were similarly helpful to you or someone you love.
7. Eat something you love to eat once a week. Depravation is depressing. Even if it means you have to spend an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill, that tiny piece of chocolate cake can make you feel like you're not being deprived.
8. Get outside and appreciate your environment. Sunlight and fresh air are now being touted as ways to prevent certain types of cancer. The healthiest thing you can do for yourself, emotionally and physically, is to simply take a walk.
9. Giving love and understanding is the first step in receiving it. This is one of the oldest and wisest pieces of truth on earth. Giving away what you want is a great way to get what you really need.
10. Always have a goal. Happiness comes from moving toward what you want, not from getting it. Any time you achieve a dream, you need to replace it. Make sure you always have something to look forward to.
Remember that happiness is not constant in our universe. Some people think that if they're not feeling happy, something is wrong. The real truth is that happiness is usually found somewhere off the beaten path between the fantasy overpass and the reality off-ramp.
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