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Steve Maraboli, a best-selling author and behavioral scientist, once said, “Happiness is a state of mind, a choice, a way of living: it is not something to be achieved, it is something to be experienced.” I believe it is both to be experienced and achieved. There is not a person in this universe powerful enough to steal your happiness. You are the master of your mind, bring your thought patterns under the obedience of gratitude. Then when life takes you on an unexpected journey, gratitude becomes your seed to sow and reap happiness.

It is measurably safe to conclude that happiness is the product of a life filled with peace, hope, and love rooted in a heart of gratitude. Without recognizing why one would be grateful, life can become unrewarding through striving by taking on false responsibility and eventually leading to disappointments. When life does become more complicated there are three key principles to help you navigate through the ups and downs a little easier: 1) Be who you say you are; 2) Do what you say you’ll do; and 3) Respect the boundaries and limitations of yourself and others. By implementing these qualities, one can begin to experience true happiness. However, achieving a lifetime of happiness also requires the consistent culmination of poise, assiduity, and accountability shown through peace, joy and love.

Joy is the product of happiness, and it is contagious. If you are around someone joyful, soon enough you will experience joy also. If joy is a feeling based upon a temporary emotion, then it will only be temporary. But when one decides to be grateful for joy, one’s emotions move from a temporary experience into a permanent state of being where happiness is achieved.

When we wake up each day, our first thoughts largely guide our perspective on the day. “As a man thinks, so is he,” quoted from Proverbs 23:7. Each morning, think upon those things for which you are grateful. Starting your morning routine this way is essential for promoting overall happiness. A grateful attitude guides your outcome so that when you FEEL weak, you are able to BE strong. When you FEEL groggy, choose to BE attentive. This is achieving happiness until you can experience happiness.

Life’s ups and downs are like emotions. How we interpret those ups and downs depends on our state of being. Implement the three key principles and sprinkle them with gratitude and your harvest of happiness will ensue. If some days are more difficult than others, do not despair. Just dispense a little gratitude. Afterall, it isn’t today that defines one’s most shining moment, but it could be the day to first experience it.

Rebecca D. Bennett

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