Everyone wants to be happy. In fact the Declaration of Independence gives Americans the right to pursue happiness.  It is not guaranteed, but we can chart our own path to joy.  At times when our work becomes overwhelming, or in this economy underwhelming, we may feel stressed and unable to rise to the level of cheerful delight.  However we all know people that no matter the circumstances always seem to have a smile on their face and a joie de vivre. How do they get there and how can we achieve this same satisfaction in our days and allow this feeling to spill over into the work we do? Happy people have three qualities that other people don’t have: they know it, they show it and they grow it.

They Know It


People who are happy remain in touch with their emotions. They allow their feelings to act as their guide. When they get stressed and lose their feeling of well being, they immediately take steps to get centered and clear.  If they lose their temper or get angry, happy people start to feel anxious at going into such a place and quickly regain control and try to resolve the situation from a better state of being.  In short, happy people enjoy the feeling of feeling good, that they will do almost anything to return to this state when life takes them from it.  Happy people know they are happy and they are grateful for the good times and grateful for those times that challenge them to look inside and change for the better.

They Show It


When you are around a happy person, you know it.  You immediately start to feel better and lighten up. Their joy is contagious and you look forward to interactions with them, whether in person or on the phone.  If you are that happy person, then you understand that you become the cheerleader at your place of business or in your home. When the day becomes difficult, others turn to you to lift their spirits and calm their nerves.  It is a lot of responsibility to be the designated happy person, but happy people are happy to take on this role!


They Grow It


Happy people look for reasons to maintain their joy.  They participate in fun activities, continue to learn new things and spend time with people they love.  They do not waste their time on tasks that have no purpose. They will not take on other people’s burdens that weigh them down and stress them out.  Their time is filled with work that fulfills them, people who nurture them and fun that energizes them.  If they must do something that is tedious or tough, they find a way to make it into a game.  Life is not wasted on moments of obligations, but filled with one great adventure after another.  Even dusting and vacuuming can take on a new energy when performed by a happy person.  Very simply, happy people find ways to make each moment fun.

So what can we learn from their example if we are feeling less than giddy and a bit beat down?  Happiness is, not only a choice, but an obligation.  We owe it to ourselves, our co-workers and our families to be happy. It is the one gift that no one can give us, we have to find it ourselves.  So, here are three simple steps that can take you from okay to fantastic:

  1. Understand that happiness is a choice. We make hundreds of small decisions every day. What you wear, the route you take to work, where you park, what you will eat for lunch, etc. etc.  All day long we must make decisions, yet we don’t realize that how we feel is a choice we can make as well.  If you want to be happy, act happy. Motions create emotions.  Try it, it works.
  1. Play. By engaging our right brain, we get away from the lists and the figures and the facts that bring us down.  Playing brings out our creativity and problem solving abilities.  Want to “think outside of the box?”  Better grab a toy and play.  Keep your desk filled with small toys such as stress balls, bubbles and bobble heads.  I just added a slinky to my collection because when I am struggling, I remember, as their jingle states, that it is “the hit of the day when you’re ready to play, everyone knows it’s Slinky.”
  1. Don’t take life too seriously. Oscar Wilde wrote, “Life is too important to take seriously.” I work in an industry where I witness firsthand the transience of life.  There are no guarantees and, as my teacher told me, “People who take themselves seriously, end up in serious condition and those who are too critical, end up in critical condition.”  So lighten up, let go and laugh, and if you do, happiness is sure to follow.



Note:  I would love to know how you keep yourselves balanced and happy.  E-mail me with your thoughts and I will reward with you with a fortune telling fish.