Freedom #2As each of us goes about our day-to-day life, it’s easy to stop asking whether we are happy. Oftentimes, we are so caught up in our hectic schedules, problems, and work, we don’t have time to think about what we really want out of life. In the process, we might feel overworked, stressed, tired and grouchy, and take it out on the barista who gets our coffee order wrong, the friend that forgets to call us back or our children that misbehave. What’s important to know, though, is that being in a happier state of mind has a two-fold benefit. First, you are more likely to think positively, be active, and live a conscious life where you are in the driver seat instead of being pulled and tugged by forces that seem out of your control. Second, when you are happier, it creates a ripple effect as those around you respond to your joyful energy and it influences their state of mind, as well. Although you may not realize it, happiness is highly contagious and it’s one bug that everyone wants to get stung by.

Here’s a few tips on how to create happiness ripples by increasing the happiness of yourself and, in the process, those around you:

Focus On Giving
Oftentimes, we feel unhappy when we aren’t getting what we want or need from others. The truth is that we can’t control others but we can look at what we put out into the universe. Give the love you hope to receive today, fully and without reservation. More importantly, give without expecting anything in return. When you give of yourself without expectation, you will be amazed at the fulfillment you will find in the process.

Be Kind To Yourself 
We live in a culture where we often feel that we have to look, act and be perfect, and we are hard on ourselves when we don’t measure up to the unrealistic standards that we set for ourselves. Consciously say nice things to yourself every day. Forgive yourself for making mistakes. Recognize that you are human and there’s only one of you, and that you are wonderful and imperfect and unique and something to celebrate.

Pay Attention To Your Values, Desires and Beliefs
Don’t wait any longer to start living in alignment with your true values, desires and beliefs. Start taking steps today to achieve those dreams that you have placed on the back burner, and recognize that “tomorrow” may never arrive. You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward. Just start somewhere and learn and grow and maybe even change course in the process.

Get a Think Partner
It’s important to have support from one or two people in your life that you can brainstorm ideas with and vent about problems to, and who can hold you accountable in achieving your goals. Having a think partner makes achieving goals, such as weight loss, easier and helps prevent loneliness and isolation. If you have that support circle in place, you are ahead of the game. If not, look at the people in your life. Your think partner can be a friend or family member or co-worker or even a member of an online support community. The important thing is to have someone that you can trust, and who will be on your side while you work towards improving yourself and your life.

Do More of What Works
Oftentimes we try to fit a round circle into a square peg. Do you hate the gym? Don’t go. Find what gives you pleasure. Maybe that’s swimming in a pool or playing tennis or taking your dog for a walk. You may not like structured exercise, but if your goal is to get in shape then think about the ways you like to move your body and do more of those activities.

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