On my fridge, there is an article with advice on how to be happy. I thought I’d share the gist of it with you, ’cause dangit, YOU deserve to be happy.

No.1: Show Gratitude

Lots of studies show that the is a correlation between happiness and gratitude. Let me show you why:

Our marvelous brain helps us sort out the trillion bitts of information we are bombarded with, by creating patterns. We see what we look for. We leave out the rest. So if you actively focus on the things, you are grateful for, you will feel more gratitude and more happiness. (It works the other way too – focus on the negative, and that’s what you’ll get. No “Secret” there!!)

So if you’d like -try writing a “gratitude-journal”. Just for a week. Not necessarily anything hoyty-toyty; just the little things that made your day good. The guy that gave up his parking space for you. The first cup of coffee. The sound of the children laughing. Flowers, rainbows and taking a good crap. Whatever makes you tick! Hell, even on the shittiest days, you can say “I’m at least alive”.

2. Happiness is contagious

Surround yourself with happy people and you’ll catch the bug too!  Now, I’m not saying don’t be a good friend who listens and supports and is there for your unhappy friend, who is going through a rough patch. I’m just saying this: Look at your list of friends. Do they give you energy or do they drain you? If you can’t bring yourself to break up with your perpetually unhappy friend, because you deep down love her or him and there’s all this history and it’ll get better – just be sure to spend AS MUCH time with someone who GIVES you energy. I firmly believe in Pavlovian conditioning: Ignore bad behavior and praise good behavior (again: FOCUS!!). Let bad friends slide and spend you time with that friend, that makes your heart sing and your belly ache with laughter. Oh, the one that GETS you! Go invite her or him for a drink, or a movie or a meal or a walk or a talk  – right now. Do it, do it. 🙂

3. Be generous

I don’t know why it works that way, but it does: Giving to others makes us feel good. Altruism kicks ass – and I invite you to try it out:  just try a tiny act of random kindness this week. Bring an unexpected cup of coffee to your colleague. Write a letter to that old lady you know is lonely, send her some pictures of the cat or the kids, whatever. Be generous with yourself, not just your money.

4. Spend your money on adventure – not more crap!!

This one is highly relevant for me right now because I am in a horrible dilemma. I REALLY want a greenhouse for my garden. I just know, it would bring me hours and hours of happiness, wathching all the veggies grow, the flowers, it would be so pretty, I could eat my own produce, I could sit in the greenhouse in the autumn where it would be too cold out side. On the other hand, I want to visit friends overseas. People I truly love. They bring me so much joy. Just think of all the fun we would have. All the wonderful memories a trip like that would generate. Oooo – it is such a bummer that we only get to spend our money once! Am still undecided on that one.

Would love to get YOUR tips on happiness – what do YOU do to be happy?

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