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If you are not sad, does that mean you are happy?
 
"The absence of disease is not the same as health,
 just as the absence of poverty is not the same as wealth."
Taken from the book, What Happy People Know by Dan Baker and Cameron Stauth

Happiness is a condition created by you. Most people tend to believe that happiness is the absence of unhappiness, that by somehow eliminating pain you will automatically be left with joy and happiness. Unfortunately, all you will be left with is less pain. While that might be a key ingredient in happiness, it is not, in itself, happiness.

To be happy requires effort and action. It is created by the things you think and the things you do. It is a focus that drives your intentions. There are many components to happiness, each with its own set of required actions. Happiness is more than a static state of being; happy is as happy does.  

One great way to consciously create happiness is to create options. I believe that the more options we have for joyful experiences, the happier we will be overall. Start by identifying a few areas that bring you joy and create options for experiencing that joy. For me, one thing that brings me joy is exercise. It makes me happy to challenge my body and mind, and the results make my active lifestyle much more enjoyable. I have created many ways in which to bring the joy of fitness training into my life. Here are just a few:

  • Running inside or outside
  • Hiking
  • Jumping rope
  • Weight training
  • Hula hoop dance (really)
  • Martial arts
  • Boxing
  • Group fitness

I've also identified other areas that bring me joy and combine my love of fitness training with them so that I am able to get an even bigger bang out from my actions:

  • My love of coaching combined with fitness
    • I am a professional fitness coach.
  • My love of going out on 'dates' with my husband
    • Instead of dinner on Friday night, we went indoor rock climbing for 2 hours.

These are only a few examples of how I create options for myself. What my options do for me is to build up a reserve of opportunities for me to experience happiness. This way, I never fear being without something that brings me joy. If it's raining and running outside is not possible, I have at least 10 other ways I can still create a happy experience through fitness training. Without having created these options actively and consciously, I would not be as happy, because I would worry about the weather and would fear not being able to do something I enjoy.

It may be tough, at first, to shift your thinking. I find that people are much more in touch with what makes them sad than what makes them happy. It's natural to assume that by addressing the sad condition you will become happy; in fact, you will--but only to a limited degree. There is so much left on the table if you only seek to reduce sadness. Begin to view happiness as the result of actions taken to be happier rather than actions taken to be less sad. See creating happiness as a recurring activity in itself. By focusing on the joyful things in life, and by doing happy things, you won't have time for sadness.

What do you think about the creation of happiness versus the reduction of sadness? As you define the things that make you happy, do you find enough options? E-mail me at Lorraine@Peacemaker-Coach.com, or post your thoughts for everyone to share at http://www.Peacemaker.Forumotion.com. You might even pass along 1 or 2 ideas you have for happy-making in your life.
 
"The absence of disease is not the same as health,
 just as the absence of poverty is not the same as wealth."
Taken from the book, What Happy People Know by Dan Baker and Cameron Stauth
 
Warmest Regards,
Lorraine Esposito
914-410-7502

Life and fitness coach and author Lorraine Esposito has been featured in broadcast, print and online media and is a public speaker regarding personal leadership and empowered parenting to community and school-based audiences. Find out more about Lorraine at www.Peacemaker-Coach.com and her latest book at http://www.morningpeacemaker.com  The Morning Peacemaker, How to get your kids out the door on time without saying(nagging) a word. If you have kids ages 2 to 12 you'll LOVE this book

  

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