Sometimes it appears that life throws more obstacles in our path than we can handle. However, even in the face of the most challenging circumstances, you can make the choice to be happy by following these 9 paths to happiness.
1. Honor Yourself: Remember what the flight attendant says, "Put your own oxygen mask on first." You are of no use to anyone else if you have not taken care of your own needs first - this includes your own emotional, as well as physical, well-being.
2. Forgive Everyone For Everything: Forgiveness is a gift to yourself. YOU created the stress in your life by getting angry, and YOU can instantly remove that stress by granting forgiveness. Expressing your forgiveness to the other is optional - internalizing that forgiveness is required in order to live a joyful life. Don't forget to also forgive yourself for everything you regret ever having done or not done.
3. Have Gratitude For All Of Life: As with forgiveness, gratitude is a gift to yourself. Saying "thank you" is a powerful way to create great relationships, but the real power of gratitude is internalizing an immense thankfulness for your very existence - everything that has ever occurred or failed to occur in your life.
4. Respect Your Mind: Faith is powerful, but it is no substitute for observing, paying attention, weighing alternatives, and choosing with intention. Without conscious choice, there is no freedom or happiness.
5. Design Your Future: Don't be a passive tumbleweed blown by the winds of life. Envision the future you want, and then take action to create that future. Often, you will fail. Plan again and take action again.
6. Begin Today, and Never Give Up: There is no better time to begin than today - each and every "today." When obstacles stop you, think of new ways to reach your goals. In the words of the Oriental proverb, "Fall seven times, stand up eight."
7. Be Of Service To Others By Radiating Happiness: Being of service is one of the greatest paths to happiness, but remember that your greatest service to others is the person that you are, rather than the tasks you accomplish. Your greatest gift to others is to give them happiness, and by far the most powerful way to do that is to be an example of happiness and to radiate that happiness to others.
8. Dance Lightly With Life: Life does not have to be a serious undertaking. You will make mistakes, you will feel regrets, and eventually, you will die - so what? Happiness comes from dancing lightly with life - playing hopscotch on the river of life - leaping gracefully from joy to joy while laughing at the threats of calamity - even laughing hysterically at our human frailness when we do fall into the muddy torrent.
9. Know Unity With Spirit: There are as many ways to connect with Spirit as there are people - each of us has our own way to receive strength and serenity from the Infinite. Your life will be happier if you acknowledge that you are not alone, become open to that presence, and create ritual to celebrate your connection. You may feel your bond with Spirit at the Lord's Supper, in Songs of Praise, in Calls to Prayer, in Meditation, while doing Yoga or Qigong, or while walking in the woods. However you connect with Spirit, do it today.