The greatest challenge is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


You see it everywhere you turn, happiness as a lifestyle choice, a new frontier. Most of us navigate our lives from day to day with circumstances dictating what priorities move up and down the list. When it comes to simple priorities of our lives that can make a difference; that can make us live happier, many of us tend to muddle through.
Often, too often, work and the other priorities that life throws at us come before our own needs. Recreation, relaxation, and fun become scheduled events. Managing a complex lifestyle takes a lot of thinking and a lot of doing. Fun and relaxation, in our work-ethic world are unfortunately often relegated to a lower priority. Our bodies and our minds were not designed to swim in a stress-rich environment. When it comes to stress, a little goes a long way.
Unfortunately, we cannot eliminate the things that cause us stress. Rush hour, financial concerns, relationships, parenthood, health, and other things that can induce stress will always be there. We tend to ignore the stress-induced symptoms until we are having trouble coping. The result is that we end up less happy and more stressed out. Our health suffers and we pay the price on a very personal level. The quick fix is part of our culture and we look for it. We seek miracle solutions without doing anything to relieve the underlying cause and effect and end up facing the same situation over and over.
The power of making a conscious decision to live happy, and the simple things that we can do to make a difference for ourselves are overlooked. Letting someone ahead of you in line, learning a new language, completing or starting a project, turning off the TV, taking a daily walk, meditating, and writing an old-fashioned letter that requires a stamped envelope can be cathartic. These are simple things that can manage or relieve stress—they can direct you toward the new frontier. Remember the old prayer that goes something like: Lord, help me to change the things I can, to accept the things that I cannot and to know the difference.
Everything you perceive occurs now, in the present. Living in the present, in the moment—making the best of circumstances that you cannot control, and choosing to be happier are within your control. When you control your behavior these destabilizing influences don’t affect you in the same way. Think of it like taking a few deep breaths and relaxing your immediate tensions. Do not let yourself react in a negative way, it will just fuel the fire. 
Living the moment and accepting what you cannot control improves your outlook. Consider it for what it is—a behavioral lifestyle choice. You alone have the power to determine ways that can make you live happy. Life will not deny you stress … life creates it. You have the tools to control stress and things that keep you from living a happier life. What you think, what you believe and your behavior are your dominion. These are the only things that you can control. Either circumstances that you cannot control will drain your happiness, or you can be your own master. The ultimate choice to live happy or to not live happy is yours. 
Smile, laugh, open the door for someone, sing out loud in the shower, dance to the music when you are alone or with your partner, do not let worry become obsessive, slow down. If you have a dusty bucket list—do something on it and don’t let the virtual world replace the real one. Exercise as often as you can, and be grateful for all the good things in your life. A new happier frontier awaits you. The good thing is that you can begin right now—what do have you to lose aside from the stresses of life? Hope to see you there soon.