If you wait to be happy, you’ll wait forever

I am very happy today. And how could I not be happy? The sky is so blue and everything is vibrantly green. The flowers are at their peak–red, pink, and bright orange.
From my window, I see the tall trees in our backyard swaying in the wind and hear a cardinal’s high-pitched “cheer-cheer-cheer” claiming our whole yard as his own.
My beautiful white dog, Phoebe, gave me a welcoming kiss when I came back from my morning exercise classes. And she still sits at attention by my feet. I feel healthy and energized.
And especially, I feel warm and cozy inside, remembering our wonderful weekend visit from my aunt and uncle, Lee and Fran of Ohio. And their daughter from Arizona.
The result is profound happiness.
I love to be happy, and that’s why I have lots of “happy” books in my library. But two stand out. “How We Choose To Be Happy” by Rick Foster and Greg Hicks and “The Happy Book” by Sally Huss.
“How We Choose To Be Happy–The 9 Choices of Extremely Happy People–Their Secrets, Their Stories” was the product of a 10-year research project by two organization consultants who wanted to unlock the secrets of happy people.
They asked these questions: “Who among us is truly happy? And more important: how did they get that way.” The result is a helpful “how-to” book of happiness.
Of the nine choices made by happy people, the key choice is “intention.” It requires both the strong desire to be happy and the commitment to take action. And further, “intention” requires a conscious decision to choose happiness over unhappiness.
The second choice is “accountability.” You must take full personal responsibility for your actions, thoughts, and feelings, and emphatically refuse to blame others for your unhappiness. You are responsible to choose the life you want to live.
Among the other choices are “identification” (the ongoing process of looking within yourself to identify what makes you happy), “recasting” (the choice to turn everyday problems and even extreme trauma into opportunities and challenges), and “appreciation” (being aware of each moment of life and appreciating it).
The researchers found that, no matter what your circumstances, virtually anyone can “learn” to be happy. In other words, happiness is a choice.
In contrast to this highly-intellectual treatment, “The Happy Book” is simply fun. It’s a book designed to lead you to greater happiness in one month, and contains 30 exercises.
Each exercise has a symbol to represent it. And the author instructs the reader to punch out the symbols at the back of the book and save them in a festive bowl. The first symbol was “The Sun” and I chose a tiny crystal heart-shaped bowl.
This day’s assignment is to be like the sun and shine equally on everyone, including the person you see in the mirror. Find six instances during the day in which you consciously give your sunshine to someone you normally overlook.
Other symbols are “The Package,” “The Butterfly,” “The Lightbulb,” “The Windshield Wipers,” and “The Sailboat.”
Most people wait for something to happen to make them happy, says Huss. But the truth is that if you wait to be happy, you will wait forever.
So take your pick. If you’re the intellectual type, try consciously adopting the nine choices of extremely happy people. If you’d rather take an experiential path, check out “The Happy Book.”
But whatever you do, don’t wait passively. Choose happiness now!
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist.

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