I think of myself as a pretty focused individual and one who often talks with colleagues and friends about how we are the only ones who can make ourselves happy.  It is our own reaction to other people that determines if we are happy or upset or angry! It is not what the other person has done . . . it is only our reaction. You and you alone control your internal feelings and reactions. So why do we still get upset or react negatively to someone?  Because it is easy to “talk” about what you and other people should do.  It is much more difficult to do it! And it is a continuous, daily, thoughtful process that we must practice every day.  We must take time to make ourselves happy and if we take that time, we will learn how to feel happy and be happy and enjoy our wonderful lives.

Below are a few ideas to help us focus on de-stressing and creating our own happy life.

When you get stressed . . . stop and take a deep breath. We’ve all heard that before, but breathing deeply relaxes our bodies and our minds. Try it . . . close your eyes, inhale deeply, expanding your ribs as much as possible, pause, then exhale pushing all the air out of your lungs. Pause, then inhale again and repeat. Many of us never fully expand our lungs when we breathe. So it may take a little practice.

Close your eyes and think about something that makes you happy . . . something that brings a smile to your face. Now remember how you feel at this moment . . . smiling, internally and externally, and the sense of calm that flows over your body.  Wouldn’t it be great to just pull this feeling out whenever you want to? Well, you can.  Just practice this feeling.

Make a list of things that make you smile and feel good . . . things that can take your mind immediately to a happy place . . . smells, places, events, things. Keep the list in your wallet or your purse.  Look at it, read it and take time to smile.

Place pictures of things that make you happy throughout your home, in your car, in your office, on your phone and your computer.  These can be pictures of people, places, things . . . anything that makes you smile.  Make a habit of smiling each time you see these images . . . and take the time to really “see” them throughout your day.

Take the time to talk to friends and co-workers each day about things that make you happy. We all know that laughter is the best medicine . . . we just need to do it more!

Smile at the next person you see . . . and see what you get in return.  Happiness is contagious . . . we just need to spread it around.