“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."

                        -- Abe Lincoln

Picking up where my partner left off last week (Happy and Lucky 2011), at ConvergenceCoaching, we’re declaring “genuine happiness” as one of our 2011 possibilities.  Princeton’s online dictionary (www.princeton.edu) defines happiness as “a state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.”

As Abe Lincoln expressed, happiness is a state of mind that you can choose to create. While life does offer opportunities to face difficulties and loss, which cause us to process grief and recover, most of us are not facing these emotions daily.  Instead, we go through life focusing on how tired, stressed, irritated, grouchy, angry, hurried, busy, rattled, or hurt we are and then we project these feelings into our work and our relationship with others – spreading unhappiness. 

So, we’re committing instead to focus on Peter Pan’s daily practice to “think happy thoughts” and to consciously generate a positive state of mind for ourselves and others wherever possible.   Is this a challenge you might consider taking with us? 

Here are a few ideas to help us in our quest to create happiness and positivity:

  • Tune out negative news from the 24-hour news outlets, newspapers, magazines and change your browser home page to a happy site – not a news site
  • Visit web sites or blogs that focus on generating happy thoughts like http://happythoughtstoday.blogspot.com/ and http://www.thinkhappythoughts.com/
  • Create a mantra around your committed state of mind and post it in several places—in your office, your car, and your home to remind you of your commitment to be happy
  • When something negative happens, ask yourself my mother’s favorite question, “Is this worth being mad, or should you choose glad?” and then look for a way to interpret the negative event hopefully
  • Exercise regularly to release endorphins, reduce stress and allow yourself to feel better physically, too
  • Make a list of all of your life’s blessings and carry it with you someplace you can review it regularly whether leaving a copy in your Outlook draft box, placing it on your iPad or laptop desktop or carrying a hard copy in your note padfolio

What do you do to generate happiness and joy in your life?  Please share them here and we’ll revisit this topic from time to time in this blog space in 2011 as we practice happiness in our work and lives.