If we practice gratitude and keep a thankful heart, we’ll automatically extend inspiration wherever we go.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Five Minutes to Happiness

Wow, yesterday I wallowed. Wallowed in self-pity so much that I almost drowned. You know it, it sounds something like this "Woe is me, I'll never find a job, we'll lose the house, what are we going to do, when is the economy going to turn around, blah, blah, blah."

And then I got a text from an old friend of mine. This friend of mine has always been a ray of sunshine. Always laughing, always smiling, always there with a positive outlook on life or a great joke to make you laugh so hard your belly hurts. I've known him since we were kids. We'd go out and play kick the can, ghost in the graveyard and other childhood street games until the street lights came on, then it was back in the house.

This friend had to have back surgery almost a year ago and has spent month after month after month living in a rehab center. Away from his family holiday after birthday after holiday. Here is the text he sent yesterday "I'm doing well. Getting a little stronger every week. I can walk about 1000 feet with a rolling walker." Through all of his and his family's adversity, he seems to be keeping a positive outlook. And then, this morning, I found this article:

Devoting time each day for happiness will change your day and change your brain chemistry.

A reason to smile~

It can be so easy to get caught up in the rigors of modern life that we tend to forget that happiness need not come with stipulations. Happiness becomes something we must schedule and strive for—a hard-won emotion—and then only when we have no worries to occupy our thoughts. In reality, overwhelming joy is not the exclusive province of those with unlimited time and no troubles to speak of. Many of the happiest people on earth are also those coping with the most serious challenges. They have learned to make time for those simple yet superb pleasures that can be enjoyed quickly and easily. Cultivating a happy heart takes no more than five minutes. The resultant delight will be neither complex nor complicated, but it will be profound and will serve as a reminder that there is always a reason to smile.

So much that is ecstasy-inducing can be accomplished in five minutes. Alone, we can enjoy an aromatic cup of our favorite tea, take a stroll through the garden we have created, write about the day's events in a journal, doodle while daydreaming, or breathe deeply while we listen to the silence around us. In the company of a good friend or treasured relative, we can share a few silly jokes, enjoy a waltz around the room, play a fast-paced hand of cards, or reconnect through lighthearted conversation. The key is to first identify what makes us dizzyingly happy. If we do only what we believe should bring us contentment, our five minutes will not be particularly satisfying. When we allow ourselves the freedom to do whatever brings us pleasure, five minutes out of 14 wakeful hours can brighten our lives immeasurably.

It is often when we have the least free time or energy to devote to joy that we need to unwind and enjoy ourselves the most. Making happiness a priority will help you find five minutes every day to indulge in the things that inspire elation within you. Eventually, your happiness breaks will become an established part of your routine. If you start by pursuing activities you already enjoy and then gradually think up new and different ways to fill your daily five minutes of happiness, you will never be without something to smile about.

You know...today is going to be a great day!

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