I know that true happiness comes from within, but there are things we can all do to remind ourselves that even in troubled times, there's still lots to love about life. Nature is one of the the best places to find peace, joy, serenity, and even hope. The sunlight peeking through the canopy of trees, the rustle of leaves underfoot, the smell of clean fresh air tinted with only the fragrance of wood and wildflowers....those in themselves are pretty awesome. But what I like best is the solitude. Even with two young froglets tagging along, it's still easy to find that quiet, inner place where we all need to go, now and then, for a little self-reflection.
While the kids played, I sat on a rock under a beautiful old tree. I closed my eyes and went within. The warmth of the sunlight on my skin felt wonderful. I took several deep breaths. The air smelled sweet and fresh. And for the first time in a while, I forgot all about the world problems that lay far beyond Lily Pad's forest. I was happy. And I felt at peace.
We needn't let the world's problems block out the sun and rain on our proverbial parade. When the nightly news is is filled with nothing but doom and gloom, it can seem like happiness is lost forever. But it's not. Here are a few suggestions that anyone can do to find joy in tough times. Turning off the news is the first step.
1. Be with others who make you smile. Studies show that we are our happiest when we are around others who are happy. Happiness is contagious!
2. Hold on to your values. The more you honor yourself and your values, the better you will feel about others and the world around you.
3. Accept the good. When difficult times seem to abound, it's often easy to forget the good things we have. This is the best time to take stock of all the good you have in your life.
4. Imagine the best. Don't be afraid to "see" the things you want and to picture yourself getting them. Being able to imagine the things you want is a big part of actually achieving them.
5. Do things you love. Perhaps you can't do all the things you love all the time...money and responsibilities don't always allow it. But do them as often as you can. In between times, however, do the small things you enjoy; gardening, cooking, crafting, building things....
6. Find purpose. Those who believe they are contributing to the well-being of others tend to feel happier and more satisfied with their life. Everyone wants to feel like they're making a difference.
7. Listen to your heart. You are the only one who knows what fills you up. Finding your bliss needn't be complicated. Our hearts are speaking to us all the time, but we need to learn to listen.
8. Push yourself, not others. We are responsible for our own happiness. No one else. So stop blaming the world and all the crazy things going on. Once you do, it'll become a whole easy to find your true inner happiness.
9. Be open to change. There's that scary word again. It pops up all the time these days. But change is inevitable and accepting it, even when it doesn't feel good, can go along way in making sure we remain happy. Happiness is not external. It's internal. And it's something we can choose to be.
10. Bask in the simple pleasures. Like taking a happiness hike, watching a favorite film, rereading a special book, laughing at silly jokes, looking at photo albums, and spending time with those you love. These are the things that will make you truly happy.
After enjoying our picnic lunch, the three of us headed home. Quigley, Jr. seemed more like his old self...full of love and laughter. I must say that I, too, had a new outlook on the world. Things didn't seem as grim as they did just a few days ago. Before i knew it, all three of us were hopping...I mean, jumping for joy once again. Life was beautiful!
It's important for everyone.. young, old, and in-between, to take time to renew and recharge. In these crazy and often unsettling times, spending time in nature can be even more beneficial. Loving life when the world seems so dark and dangerous, can be challenging. But when we tune in to the things that are really important to us, finding and keeping happiness isn't so hard at all.
It's right where we left it.