Growing Happiness

"Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart." - Winnie the Pooh

The new science of "Happiness" is proving that we can grow our own happiness.  By taking just a few minutes each day to focus on the good, we can cultivate positive feelings.  Just like practicing the violin or hitting the tennis ball, with repetition and practice we can get better at focusing on the good in our lives, which by its very nature, allows less time to focus on the bad.  Here are a few simple ways to grow your own happiness:

(1) Pay attention to simple pleasures.  Drinking a cup of tea, walking your dog or hugging a child can be incredibly joyful experiences if you take the time to notice how good they actually feel.  Take time out every day to slow down and place your full attention on something that feels good.  It takes less time than going to the gym or preparing a healthy meal, yet it will greatly increase your overall feeling of wellbeing.

(2) Watch the sunset.  Study after study shows that immersing yourself in nature will increase your happiness.  Breathe in fresh air, look at the majestic, old trees around you or watch the magical colors in the sky.  Just a few minutes each day spent outside, appreciating the beauty and the awe of nature will greatly increase your daily dose of happiness.

(3) Focus on those you love.  If you spend a few minutes each day thinking about someone you love, you can actually feel love.  As you hold that person in your attention and send them love and well wishes, you can begin to notice how that feels -- and it feels good.  Then, simply allow yourself to feel a bit of gratitude for having that person in your life.

(4) Send yourself love.  Often, we are our harshest critic, and sending ourselves love can be challenging.  Try spending a little time each day to self-reflect on what you did well, and not what you did wrong or didn't do at all. Try looking in the mirror and notice what you like, rather than what you don't like. Remind yourself each day that you are doing your best, and that is good enough. Simply notice how good it feels to send a little love your own way.  Remember, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”

Each day is a brand new day full of opportunities to learn, to experience the world and to connect with yourself and with the world around you.  Take a little time to grow and nurture your own happiness and see how that joy will grow and will spread to those around you.