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Building a Happy Life Worth Living

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better."

Let me tell you a story! My daughter was born a fun-loving, spunky little thing with an enormous personality. She knows how to enjoy life to the fullest. When she was 8 years old, her auntie (my sister) took her to Disneyland for her birthday. It was a traditional thing she did with her nieces and nephews for their 8th birthday. When they got back from Disneyland, my sister raved on how much she loved being there with Lilia, and said that it was unique and different than the other kids. And what she then explained to me has stuck in my mind since. The other kids wanted to run from ride to ride, get to the next exciting thing. That's how most of us are! She said that with my daughter, she wanted to stop and see everything and take it all in. She stopped to smell all of the flowers, look at the characters, feel the water from the waterfall outside of the castle, enjoy everything that surrounded her and take her time soaking it all in. My sister loved this! It didn't annoy her, and she loved that my daughter took the time to enjoy everything that surrounded her. I decided after that that I wanted to be more like my daughter! I am always in such a hurry to get from point A to B, get things accomplished, check something off the list, and I forget to stop and smell the flowers. Maybe there was someone I could have connected with for a minute and smiled with if I hadn't been in such a hurry. We need to take the moments in life and make the most, the best experiences we can out of them. I found a quote by an unknown author that said, "No one finds life worth living. He must make it worth living."

How do we make life worth living? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Cultivate Good Relationships

Tony Robbins said, "The quality of your life is the quality of our relationships."

A Harvard study on adult development (considered to be the most extended study, which started in 1938, tracked the lives of 724 men for 75 years) found that good relationships are the key factors that matter the most for long-lasting happiness (Opong).

“The lesson that came from tens of thousands of pages of that research was that good relationships keep us happier and healthier,” says Dr Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist, and director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development.

Physiologically, not having a social support system is actually a source of chronic stress for our bodies, says Emiliana Simon-Thomas, PhD, Science Director of the Greater Good Science Center at The University of California.

I learned this little saying when I was younger, but I learned it as a song. You've probably heard it. "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold."

If you find yourself feeling lonely, it's time to re-connect with family and friends, or make some new friends! Find a group with similar interests. Take an art class, join a book club, join a sport, and put on a smile! By having good relationships, your mental and physical health will thrive.

2. Forgive

If you are thinking to yourself, oh no she didn't, I'm skipping this part... please read on!

It is hard to forgive sometimes. Especially when the person does not deserve it. But just because they offer you poison, does not mean you have to drink it. By forgiving, you are saying, "I will not your poison, I'd rather feel healthy!"

You can say something to offend me, and then I have a choice. I can (drink your poison) and be offended, or I can (not take the poison) and choose to not let what you said bother me. Because in all reality, if you hold a grudge against someone, it eats at your like poison. You become angry and resentful. Your anger and resentment does not make the other person feel the way you do. You are choosing to let the poison affect you, and it is you it is hurting. So let it go! Free yourself of the burden of holding a grudge. Forgive others. We aren't perfect and we all make mistakes. Sometimes really dumb mistakes! Let's extend a hand of forgiveness. By doing so, you will feel free, your spirit light, and like a huge boulder has been lifted from your shoulder. Lifer is too short to be angry! Be FREE!

3. Create Meaning

"Happiness cannot be chased. It is not sustainable. It's only a fleeting emotion. meaning on the other hand, endures. Because it doesn't only depend on the present moment."

If we depend on every moment to be "happy" we are going to be very disappointed. Happiness is an emotion that really isn't sustainable at all times. It comes and goes. If you feel sad or lonely, maybe angry sometimes, congratulations. You're human! In those times, we have to reach a little deeper and find what it is in our lives that matter. What has meaning to me? I can find happiness inside myself by knowing that I have a family that loves me. When I kiss my kids goodnight, my heart soars. I know that I have created meaning in my life. I have accomplished things that have made me a better person. I have had influence on others for good. These are things that will not flee. They are a part of me that I carry always. Find your meaning in your life.

4. Live in, and ENJOY the moment!

How often do you see a family at dinner, but they are all on their phones, not talking to each other? Sometimes at family gatherings, the cousins that are all teens now, will sit on the couch next to each other, all on their phones. Not engaging, not connecting.

We take the phones away, and guess what? They start playing football, or Nerf wars. They talk and they laugh, and the connect with one another. Connecting with others will help bring happiness in our lives.

When we aren't living in the moment, we miss so much! I am a huge lover of nature. I love sunsets and sunrises, waterfalls, trees, clouds, etc etc! I find peace in God's creations. If I see a beautiful sunset, even if I see one every night, I enjoy it's beauty. It never gets old! Ask my kids about the million pictures of sunsets on my phone! There is so much to be said about living in the moment. Don't let time pass you by. Do you ever feel like an outsider watching your own life pass you by? Don't stand outside yourself feel self conscious about what might happen, or what someone might say. Who cares! Jump in the moment and live it! Enjoy it! Dance to the music that is all around you!

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