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Maximize happiness


March 26, 2012
Billie Shelton , The Daily Freeman Journal

I don't know about you, but when I read something that really resonates with me, I always wonder how I can remember it and use it. If it's in print form, it's not too hard to just clip it and keep it. But where? And how to access it?

So I came across a clipping I'd kept from more than a decade back. It was about a happiness project that an author had taken on and written a book about, of course. Another author in the same article offered tips on how to maximize happiness. Some of his tips are that to be happy we should:

Act happy. Just like I noted, this author wrote that we can act ourselves into a frame of mind. When you scowl, the whole world seems to scowl back, so put on a happy face.

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Take control of your time. Happy people feel in control of their lives, often aided by mastering their use of time, setting goals, breaking them into daily aims.

Get rest. Happy people live active, vigorous lives, yet reserve time for renewing sleep and solitude. (I think what he's really saying here is that naps are good.)

Give priority to close relationships. What better remedy for unhappiness than spending time with someone who cares deeply about you?

Take care of the soul. I read somewhere that studies found that people who devote time to their faith community four times a month live an extra 4 to 14 years.

Down shift. Find time each day to meditate, nap, pray, or enjoy a happy hour. Another article I read about happiness said that one or two glasses of wine daily could help add years to your life, especially when consumed with a healthy diet.

Connect. Living in a thriving family can add years to one's life

I wonder if our ancestors ever pondered about whether they were happy or just how they should achieve that goal. I doubt it, because I expect they were too busy providing for their families and carving out a place for themselves to consider whether they were happy. In our culture, we have things so easy that we get to look beyond the basics of food, shelter, and clothing to think about more abstract concepts like whether we're happy and what can be done to be happier.

As for me, I pretty much believe the old saw that one is just about as happy as they make up their mind to be.



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