Happiness. I am certain it is something most contemplate and think about. From time to time, I also evaluate the question, “Am I happy?” Two pieces caught my interest on the subject. One titled, 20 Things You Need To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Happy & If You Want To Be Consistently Optimistic, Read This, both found on LifeHack.  Both pieces had an impact because optimism and happiness, naturally, are a marriage.

Some of these lessons resonated:

1) Develop A Morning Routine – This is an absolute must for me. Part of my routine includes, either running or writing in the morning. On some of my runs, I’ve caught the morning sunrise behind the mountains. There is whimsical and wondrous quality about watching the sun in the morning. There is a stillness in the early hours that is not present throughout the day. I almost always drink a cup of coffee, either after I run or while I write. When these elements are missing out of my routine, there is a harsher tint to the rest of my day.

2) Focusing On What You Have – More and more, this one mantra seems to be essential not only in being more present, but also in sustaining happiness. We are guilty in succumbing to pointing out what we don’t have or goals we haven’t attained, but of course, this constant spiral of focusing on our “nots” takes away from our current sources of happiness. I try to make it a regular practice of making a list of small and big sources of gratitude. It pulls me away from my need to focus on what I don’t have. 

3) Surround Yourself With Positive People – The power of negativity can really influence a person’s psyche. There are certain people in everyone’s life who seem to carry an attitude of toxicity. Whether they are always gossiping, complaining or adding that element of drama in your life, you need to be careful about who is your tribe. 

4) The Power Of Intentions – Happiness is not an automatic. It is intentional. Identify the activities that you enjoy and make time for them. As you get older, you may that you need to redefine these areas. I find sheer joy in reading, writing, spending time with family and friends and getting some time outside. On days that I don’t run, I walk outside. I’ve tried various forms of meditation that help keep me grounded. It is a process, but I am convinced the more I cling to quieting my mind, the less frantic I will feel when chaos ensues.

5) Saying No  I am protective of my time. In my twenties, I hesitated saying no, but more and more I am learning to claim my time. Defining who and what you want to be around lends to a greater understanding of your preferences. Over scheduling makes me frantic and I am choosing to limit my participation in order to really sink into the present. 

What are lessons that contribute to your happiness?