Breathe and Smile

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Little Actions Bring Big Results with Finding Happiness

December 27, 2012


Strange is our situation here on Earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men — above all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness depends. Albert Einstein

By Mary Jo Rapini, Houston Chronicle

With the recent school shooting, the violence we see acted out each day against one another, and facing the fiscal cliff, I am more fearful and anxious with feelings that we are closer to falling off a spiritual/moral cliff than the fiscal one. Each day in the news, and observing people’s jaded attitude about the sacredness of life, I become more and more concerned with what our children must face growing up. Troubled people seek counseling each day feeling overwhelmed, worried and confused with their lives and their ability to feel joyful. At no time is this feeling more persistent than the holiday season. This season makes us aware of who we are, and what we have accomplished over the year. It’s difficult to feel content if you are inundated with violence, greed and a lack of respect. There are small actions you can take that will help uncover the joy that continues to lie under the cloud of despair which seems to be covering many of us.

  1. When you get up in the morning, write down one thing you can do for someone else and make it your mission to complete it.
  2. Once you get up, write down one blessing you notice each hour. You are a spiritual being having a human experience. Disconnecting from our spiritual side makes people cynical and miserable.
  3. Thank someone within a half hour of getting up. If they aren’t up yet, make a note to thank them at a more appropriate hour.
  4. You don’t need a Christmas tree, lights, and decorations to make your child happy at Christmas. Focus on one thing you can do with your child to create a long-lasting memory. Things such as making cookies, making a holiday ornament, dancing to a Christmas song; any and all things that bring joy to you will make your child happy.
  5. Strive for transparency instead of perfection. Everyone in the world prefers to be with someone real rather than a fake.
  6. Simple tasks such as walking the dog or going outside and feeding the birds keeps you grounded and make you feel needed.
  7. Listen to gentle music or music that makes you feel less stress.
  8. Hug your children and your partner. A hug releases oxytocin which automatically helps you feel more connected.
  9. Focus not on the world’s tragedies, but on the world’s hope. Research supports when you become part of the solution rather than rant about the problem, you become happier.
  10. Develop a hobby. People who have a hobby are more content and happy with life.

I wish you all a bit of happiness in each day. Practicing just one of these a day will find you embracing the day with a bit more zeal and joy in the New Year! –Mary Jo Rapini

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