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Life’s Journey series: The pursuit of happiness

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girl with balloonsBy Denise Morganthall 


“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” – a well-known phrase in the U.S. Declaration of Independence meaning to pursue happiness as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. It is the freedom to live as one chooses, and simply to be happy. Isn’t that what we all want?


Being happy really comes down to being content with yourself and your life. You need to decide what brings you happiness then make it happen. What makes one person happy may not bring the same joy to another. But why are some people happy and others are not? It may seem like a complex puzzle, but the answer is actually quite simplistic in that we have the power to make our lives positive. Most truly happy people are optimistic and live by the Law of Attraction, which means whatever you dwell on shapes your life. So if you fill your mind with happy thoughts, you will attract happiness.


Of course it’s not practical that everyone is happy go lucky all the time. Every one of us will encounter some sort of tragedy or difficult times, even if it is only the stress of trying to accomplish all that needs to be done when there never seems to be enough time. And it is OK to feel sad or stressed because if we were happy all the time, that feeling would eventually lose its impact. As Dolly Parton said, “If you want the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain.”


Researchers have found that living a balanced life that incorporates family, friends, work, personal growth, spirituality, community and health can help you achieve happiness. Happier people have actually been known to live longer, healthier lives. Sometimes it is as simple as looking for humor in trying situations or purposefully doing something that will bring you joy. We all know the importance of exercise in that it can help prevent diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, but it is also known to release endorphins that give you a feeling of euphoria.


Some people think money will buy happiness. But while it can afford you material items that might make you outwardly more comfortable, it does not impact true happiness. When lottery winners were interviewed about how their windfall affected their lives, most were no happier and many actually found themselves broke a few years later. It’s the same effect we sometimes see with celebrities who have every material possession yet still struggle to be happy. It is easy to take for granted all that we have – our families, a roof over our heads or a reliable car to drive. We forget to stop and appreciate the little things. The secret to true happiness is to listen to your heart and let your head tell you how to follow your heart’s path.


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