STEPPING STONES ON THE PATH TO HAPPINESS

This is some basic advice about choices you can make to experience greater happiness and fulfillment (ataraxy). Being happier isn't selfish, because happy people are also healthier, more productive, and nicer to be around! 

The bird's eye view of the Path to Happiness

Make happiness a worthy goal, for achieving it is entirely within your power.  It isn't what happens to you

that determines your feelings, it's the story you tell yourself about what happened that controls your

happiness.  You can change the story and change your feelings.

Use your feelings to tell yourself when things aren't working for you.  Recognize them as signals that

something needs to be changed to regain your serenity.

Let go of what you cannot change: other people, the past, the future.

Focus on what you can change: your thoughts, beliefs, expectations, and behavior. Changing them will

change how you feel.

Healthy attitudes and beliefs

Appreciate the moment.  Notice the good things that are happening right now.

Focus on what you have so that you experience abundance, remembering that unhappy people focus on

what they want, and feel deprived.

Be grateful.  Remind yourself of your good fortune by thinking of others who have less than you do.  Believe

there is a gift in everything that happens.

Be curious.  Take off the blinders of your expectations and see the world through new eyes.  Don't take this

amazing life for granted.

Lower your expectations since high expectations set us up for disappointment. Instead allow yourself to be

surprised and delighted by things turning out better than expected.

Let go of your Shoulds.  If you think or say “I should ...,” stop yourself.  Examine the consequences of not

doing it, and see if you want to avoid the consequences.

Live your values.  Think about the kind of person you want to be, then make every decision in alignment

with those values.

Take chances. Be bold and take a stand since people's biggest regrets were not things they did, but things

they didn't do.

Remember that if you ask for what you want and accept what you receive, you will get what you need.

Relationships - with others AND with yourself

Remember that other people's actions are almost always about them, not about you.

Stop assuming you know what others think and feel -- no two people see things exactly the same way, and

each of us interprets what we perceive in a different way.

Communicate, ask questions and listen.  Don't assume which belief(s) led to the behaviors of others; ask

without judgment because when you listen, you learn.

Accept others as they are: valuable, loveable, unique and imperfect.

Believe that all people are equally valuable and worthy by virtue of being human, and that makes you

valuable and worthy.

Do not judge others (or yourself) because it is harsh and destructive.

Remember that being human means being imperfect and making mistakes -- and that's all right.

Body

Listen to your body, it tells you what it needs. It's your job to pay attention and find a way to change what

isn't working.

Remember to breathe, really breathe.  When feeling stressed, take a few deep breaths -- focus on filling

your belly with air, expel, then take a new, full breath.

Get enough sleep.  Give yourself the opportunity to get what your body asks for each night and if sick, get

more and replenish your body.

"Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace within the storm."

Life is turbulent and happiness is a result of what is happening inside of you, not what is happening to you.
Choose to be happier!    You have found the place        to learn what YOU can do             to have a happier,                  more fulfilling life!
© Molly L. Stranahan, Psy.D. 2017
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