Monday, September 9, 2013

Happiness is a choice

I was recently interviewed by writer/blogger, Karen Randau,, about my choice to self-publish my first Niki Brooks Mystery novel, "Cat House, Adventures of a Real Estate Madam." One of the best questions Karen asked me, however, was not about me or my book but "how do you find joy in daily life?"

I didn't even have to think about that one, because I believe happiness is a choice.  Happiness is a conscious thought that starts in the brain and affects everything we say or do, and how we react to the messiness that is life.  Have you ever seen someone walking around (probably in Walmart) wearing a t-shirt that says "I like my bad attitude"? I have, and I hate that t-shirt. I know they are probably wearing it in the spirit of fun but we are what we think (not just what we eat).
A pity party is the only party that I ever want to leave early so I wear a blue plastic bracelet every day - I never take it off - that reminds me to move on if I find I'm wallowing too much or for too long. I simply snap my bracelet and say "that's enough!" I give myself a little time to grieve - 5 minutes, 10 minutes, maybe even an hour some days - but then I find something else to do that gets my mind off whatever my negative situation may be. I go to a happy place. For me, that's spending time with either my family or real friends, or playing with my imaginary friends from my Niki Brooks series!  Every day I get to write is a joy!

Another thing that helps me find  joy is by spreading joy to others. The Dalai Lama says, "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If YOU want to be happy, practice compassion," meaning we need to spread our happiness to others. Maybe that's offering a simple smile to the man you pass in the frozen food isle who looks lost in the grocery store, or saying a cheery "hello" to the lady behind you in line at the post office who keeps bumping you, or maybe you could let someone who looks like they're in more of a hurry than you are cut in front of you in line at the DMV.
Everything we need to be joyful is within us. We just have to pay attention and make the choice.




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