Four steps to being HAPPY =)

Everyone wants to be happy right? But so many of us struggle with that very thing day to day. So how to you become a positive, happy, optimistic person? Recently, I have spent a lot of time and energy thinking on, and discovering exactly how to do that. My husband and I were talking about this and he made the comment: "A goal without a plan is just a wish."
So - let's put together a happy plan =)

1) Make a decision
Happiness is a choice. You must decide on a daily basis, that you want to be happy. You have to prioritize a happy attitude, a positive outlook and an optimistic mentality. This may come more easily to some people, but everyone has the ability to do it. I might describe myself as an optimist with a tendency towards depression. Ha! Surprising? I feel things quite deeply, and when I get sad I can get very very sad. So I try to make a conscious effort to keep my mind uplifted and choose on a regular basis to think about positive things.

2) Be Thankful
Studies have shown that even people predisposed to be more pessimistic, can become more optimistic by waking up each morning and coming up with three (new) things they are thankful for! This even worked with pessimistic old men in their 80's. If this can work with people at that age and with those habits, it can work for you!

3) Find what motivates you
Why do you want to be happy? What makes you happy? How can you motivate yourself? Do you want less stress in your relationships? Perhaps you just want to stop feeling cranky. Decide why you want what you want, and use it to your advantage. Once you know your goal, think of ways to remind yourself of that goal. I am a proponent of sticking things on your bathroom mirror. Come up with phrases that speak to you, motivate you, encourage you. (Pinterest and Google are great for that btw!) and then print them out and post them on your mirror so you wake up with positive thoughts immediately. Wherever they may help you, post little phrases, positive verses, or quotes that make you happy.

4) Read books about the subject.
I recently read "The Secret". I hear a few of you thinking "that isn't a Christian book....isn't that a little new agey?" well, no not really. All it says (and I still recommend you read it) is this: "Your thoughts control your life, and you control your thoughts." BOOM. How simple, yet profound! Embrace that, memorize it, remind yourself of it daily. YOU are in control of your mind and thoughts and therefore...your life!

As long as you know what you believe, I highly recommend reading books about being positive, happiness, and follow through, even if they aren't "Christian" books. I have found some really great insights and simplistic approaches that have been very helpful for me. Sometime I have even stopped and thought - "oh wow! If you think about this from a Christian perspective, the Bible really supports this idea!"

For example, one of my favorite verses of all time:
Phil 4:8  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

God encourages us to think only on things that are positive!

The follow up book to "The Secret" is "The Power" - possibly a little more new agey... I haven't finished it yet. But the point to this book is that Love is the ultimate power in the universe. Think about that from a Biblical perspective though - God IS love right? (1John 4:16) God is the ultimate force in the universe. What lives inside us as Christians? The Holy Spirit - and we have the ability to love. What does God say is important over and over and over and over in Scripture? Loving Him, loving our neighbors, loving sinners etc.

1Cor 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

My point is this, be careful what you read, but don't always reject it because it doesn't have a Christian label on it, especially if the goal of the book is to help you become a happier person - there might be simple little phrases that click with you that help you really latch on to a concept in a way you haven't thought about it before!

I hope these simple tricks help you - they can be applied to many areas in your life! Just remember, happiness like anything in life requires a plan in order to become a reality - pursue it heartily and it will become your reality!

Here are some really fun bathroom mirror quotes =)