We are not owed happiness.
It’s something we have to create for ourselves. Sometimes we even have to fight for it. Heck, even the Constitution of the United States only guarantees us the right to pursue happiness.
Which means that sometimes we have to go out of our way to create our own happiness. It’s not all that easy either.
It is, however, vitally important to each and every dude and dudette out there. The author, Robert Louis Stevenson, said, “There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.”
Fortunately, I received a nice bit of promotion in the e-mail inbox just the other day, sent by publicity agents for Henry S. Miller, Author of The Serious Pursuit of Happiness.
Miller, also author of the author of Inspiration for the Pursuit of Happiness: Wisdom to Guide your Journey to a Better Life, sent along a month-by-month guide to increase your sense of happiness throughout the upcoming year. Here’s the first six.
January: A Month of Hope and Plans
The beginning of the year is traditionally about new years’ resolutions. This year, write one positive goal you have for the coming year down on your calendar each morning of each day of January. Also write your plan to make it a reality. Then, resolve that you will intentionally invest your time and energy to work on your resolutions during the year and to live a happier life by implementing these 12 happiness strategies – one each month.
February: A Month of Gratitude
Gratitude is the antidote to greed, envy, and jealously. We feel much happier when we are being grateful for what we have, rather than envious of what we don’t. Remember, no one has everything! This month, each night before going to bed, take a daily gratitude inventory. Write down three things you are grateful for about your life – your relationships, your work, your character, your family, your country, the world around you, your life.
March: A Month of Kindness
Plato said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” And, if you look around, it’s still true today. This month, find one opportunity each and every day to perform some kind act for someone else – even the simplest act of holding a door open for another will do. And, each day, after your act of kindness, enjoy the feeling that, for at least one shining moment, you are the personification of all that is good about the human race.
April: A Month of Optimism
Each day this month, be more conscious of your negative thoughts – if you have any. And every time you do, immediately “dispute” it by intentionally replacing the negative thought with a positive one. Do this each time you think a negative thought for a month, and notice how your thinking might change.
May: A Month of Friendship
Close relationships are one of the longest-lasting of happiness-increasing strategies. But, sometimes, we take our friends for granted – or are “too busy” to see them. This month, at least one time per week, reach out to a friend and arrange to spend time with them. This can be as simple as a walk, a meal, coffee, drinks – whatever you choose. But find the time to visit with your friends face-to-face this month.
June: A Month of Love
Traditionally, June is a month of weddings – and love is all around us. Each day this month, call, write, or email someone you love or care deeply about – one per day – and tell them how much they mean to you – and how happy you are that they are a part of your life – even if you haven’t been the best communicator up to now. Notice reactions – yours and theirs.
Some pretty salient points, I thought. Definitely something I’m going to be considering as the new year draws closer.
We’ll be back with the second six months tomorrow.