Hilary Weeks, singer, song writer and motivational speaker shares her journey toward happiness. She makes us laugh as she describes learning about the power of positive thinking in her video, “Clicking Can Change Your Life.” After an experiment where she tracked her thoughts, she developed her project, Billion Clicks. Participants can click positive thoughts as a way of focusing on the positive. She believes happiness is built one positive thought at a time.
Happiness isn’t a destination we arrive at though, it is a series of choices, on a journey toward happiness. Happiness is like a mirage on a hot desert highway. Just when you think you are getting close it shimmers into something a little farther away and takes a little different shape.
As parents, we sometimes think we will be happier at the next family milestone. We think things like, “I will be so happy when my kids are out of diapers.” Then we think, “I wish they weren’t dating.” It seems we are always putting our daily happiness on a shelf and saving it for some future special time.
I remember when I met my mother-in-law, Clareen. She lived in a small home with her seven children, her cousin, her mother and two friends of her children. She would say that if she had her way, she would live all alone in the middle of nowhere. Finally, she got her wish. She and my father-in-law bought a small plot of land in the middle of nowhere.
Shortly after moving to the middle of nowhere Clareen was diagnosed with cancer. We had a tearful phone call where she admitted that she missed the noise and chaos of the small house. She wished she lived close to family. She was happier taking care of a crowd in a house filled with love. She had learned what research has finally proven. Serving people you love makes you happy. Happiness is affected by how you think and who you’re with.
We can spend our lives working for distant happiness. Happiness that is always just out of reach, causing us to miss the happy opportunities that surround us. Today is a blessing, tomorrow a hope to plan for while celebrating every moment of every day.
Clareen saved silverware I gave her for Christmas for a “special occasion.” We lost her to breast cancer a few short years later. Hindsight, being 20/20, I wish I could go back. I would convince her to take the silverware out to the sandbox and dig with my children for just a few more minutes. There is no time to waste. Relish life and happiness right here, right now, today. Seek to make yourself and your family happy and infect the world around you.
Here are tips on increasing family happiness
Bluezones.com and Thrive give six proven methods for making yourself happier.
Happiness is affected by where you choose to live, economic freedom, employment, tolerance and government.
If you work, having a job that “engages” your talents, is a short commute from home and includes good friends increases happiness.
Bluezone, a group dedicated to healthy living, reports, “The happiest Americans report 7-8 hours of social interaction a day — face time, not Facebook. Joining a club that meets just once per month can have an effect on your happiness equivalent to doubling your salary.” Get rich and happy by spending time with friends.
To be happy, after your basic needs are taken care of, invest in life experience and time with family.
Create a home life that will increase your happiness by having pets, reducing television and making home a haven for family and friends. Studies show service increases happiness.
Spend time making a life mission statement. Craft a sentence that states who you are and what your life purpose is. Get to know yourself, what you believe, your talents and what you can share with others.
More ways to find happiness along your journey
Here is a video from the television news show 20/20
Sonja Lyubomirsky, speaker and professor of psychology shares how to get happy. She details studies on happiness and how to create a happy, healthy attitude.
On your journey remember to smile
How Stuff Works used science to explain that smiling can actually increase your happiness. Robert Zajonc’s study published in 1989 studied the emotional effect of producing a smile. The program reported, “Dr. Zajonc’s research is so significant in the field because he proposes a detailed, physiology-based explanation for the cause-and-effect relationship. According to his hypothesis, the facial changes involved in smiling have direct effects on certain brain activities associated with happiness.”
Music makes the soul feel joy
You Enjoy Myself
I can honestly say that the secret to creating happy moments for me is found in sound. Discovery News described studies that showed how music increases happiness. They said, “Even just anticipating the sounds of a composition like Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, or Phish’s You Enjoy Myself, can get the feel-good chemical flowing, found the study, which was the first to make a concrete link between dopamine release and musical pleasure.”
Serve or be kind to others
Psychology Today reports that helping others can make us happier.
Click and train your brain
On your journey to happiness, remember every day is a chance to be happy in the moment with who and what you have.
Make your home an incubator for happiness. Inspire your children to think positively. Create a sense of purpose by writing a family mission statement. Play positive uplifting music and remember to smile. Serve each other and watch your joy multiply. Happy thoughts sprinkle sparkling moments on every step, of every journey, every day. Choose to be happy.