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Maintaining Your Happiness Engine
by Barbara Garro

When I realized no person, place or thing had the power to create Barbara Garro’s happiness or lack of it, life changed for me.

Can you embrace also, as I had to, that no person, place or thing has the power to take away your happiness without your permission?

You know when you feel happy and you know when you do not. But, do you have a good definition of the formula for happiness for you, personally? Getting clear on your individual formula goes a long way to getting you to a place where you have the discipline and control to keep yourself happy most of the time.

Happy people, of course, share some ideas, beliefs, methods that bring on their happiness. First, happy people realize that while people, places, things, activities can bring them pleasure, happiness comes from within. As sure as the sun rises each morning, you are in charge of how happy you are at any given time. Seriously, is it that easy? The thought system is. The process takes work until you can put yourself on The Happy Track and keep yourself there.

You have likely heard “We teach what we need most to know.” Finding my way to happiness drove me to write “Grow Yourself a Life You’ll Love.”

Here are some commonalities shared by Happy People:

• Cope better with and have less stress

• Less self-centered and more other-centered

• Honor others’ humanity

• Make more money

• Superior leaders and negotiators

• Honor themselves and their humanity

• Know how to give and receive love

• Have a sense of humor and laugh often

• Generous with gratitude, stingy with complaints

What one activity, more than any other, drives people to a happy state? Paying attention: to themselves and their feelings, to others working to understand their feelings, more intentional awareness of what is happening around them in the moment. Consider, you can only hear a pot of water on the stove after it boils over, too late to avoid problems caused by your inattention.

Here’s a happiness concept worth getting your arms around, Understanding your Happiness Set Point. You weight watchers understand set points, because you know your weight set point. That’s the place where your weight tends to settle and stay. Eat too much at an occasional meal and your weight may not go beyond your set point. Eat light one day and your weight may not drop below your set point.

Get clear, pursuit of happiness is not a spectator sport. Forty percent of happiness is derived from our effort with Happiness Tools. I can just hear some of you thinking, “Now, finally we are getting some place!”

Happiness Tool Box Engine: Be a strength detective for your own and others’ strengths. Know your strongest strengths, maintain them, and then build muscle into your weakest strengths. You can make a huge positive change in someone by noticing a strength they possess and telling them.

Happiness Tool Box Fuel: Be a benefit detective, always searching for the good in your life. You will be amazed how much good you find, life’s little treasures. Make it habit to share with family and friends the good that happens to you every day and encourage them to share the good that happened to them. Positive mind-sets work, but take work. Why? We human beings have a negativity bias!

Happiness Tool Box Transmission: Raising Your Happiness Set Point in ways that not only delight you but delight others. Appreciating others and letting them know it becomes key. Send Appreciation Cards every once in a while. (When my mother died, in the night stand next to her bed, I found every one of the cards I sent her telling her how much I appreciate all the generous, thoughtful things she does for me.) Invest Time and Money in Face-to-Face Connection. (When Carasue Moody knew I was coming to her area in Pennsylvania, we made sure we carved out the time to get together for lunch. It was such a joy, because we had never actually met.)

Happiness Tool Box Battery: Take good care of yourself, body, mind, spirit, emotions, and environment. Cultivate a sound mind in a sound body. You knew this was coming, eat right, exercise, keep your body at a good weight for your size, sleep right and practice pampering yourself.

Hear the words of Eat, Pray, Love Author, Elizabeth Gilbert,

“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax at maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to say afloat on top of it.”

Now that you know that your happiness takes work, consider new ways of looking at adversity that empowers you instead of pulling you down into despair:

• When you understand good and bad coexist together, you see the benefits of making the choice to focus yourself on the good instead of the bad, moment by moment, day by day.

• Consider you lose your spouse or business partner, you make it your mission to find the “Me” out of the “We” in your life’s new chapter.

By now, you have come to expect some statistics, so here are some that determine our happiness:

• Genetics 50%

• External Circumstances 10%

• Actions & Thoughts Under Our Control 40%

(Source: Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D. UCA, Riverside)

Hear the words of David G. Meyers:

“That happy people are helpful people is one of the most consistent findings in all psychology. No matter how people are cheered-whether by being made to feel successful and intelligent, by thinking happy thoughts, by finding money, or even by receiving a posthypnotic suggestion-they become more generous and more eager to help.”

Have questions on upping your Happiness Set Point? Give me a call, 518-587-9999.