Why not find happiness this spring?

Happiness and spring go together like a cup and saucer.
There is so much hope in the spring. The trees are leafing out. Yellow daffodils, red and pink tulips, and purple lilacs bloom in rapid succession. The days are longer and the nights shorter.
There’s no reason in the world not to be happy in the spring.
Then why did my mother—an otherwise very happy person—always say she got depressed in the spring. Was it the impending tornado season in her new home on the prairie or was it missing the sweet smell of maple syrup from long ago in upstate New York.
Or was it possibly just a deep sadness without rhyme or reason.
At least my mother tried to make herself happy—even during the dark days. She would call her sister, Naomi, long distance and forget about the telephone bill, or she would go out for lunch with a friend.
Sometimes, she would make cookies in the early-morning hours when she couldn’t sleep. And I often had the good fortune of coming home from work to find a casserole and a dessert in my kitchen.
My mother instinctively chose activities that helped her shake the blues. She did something she loved doing. She did something helpful for others. She turned to friends and family, and she always laughed.
“Laughter is a direct route to the soul. It broadens your perspective, keeps you healthy, and makes an unbearable situation easier to deal with,” stated Joel Goodman, director of the Humor Project, in a recent article by Sally Stich in Family Circle magazine.
“Laugh” is one of the “20 Words That Can Change your Life,” according to Stich.
To get yourself laughing, Goodman suggests, “Learn a few jokes to tell . . . hang up your favourite cartoons, or call an old friend and relive a funny moment you’ve shared.”
Two other positive words my mother intuitively knew were important are “Give” and “Connect.”
“Happiness involves giving freely to others,” said Stich. Giving makes you feel good inside and anything that makes you feel good all over has to contribute to your happiness.
As for connecting, Edward Hallowell, the author of “Connect,” said, “Simply put . . . we need one another.”
In order to be happy, you must be proactive. You have to “choose” to be happy. Although we can’t always choose our circumstances, we can choose how we react to them.
Choosing to actively live out positive words such as “Laugh,” “Give,” and “Connect” changes our experiences.
“If you lose your job, you probably didn’t want it to happen but you decide whether to be angry or to see it as an opportunity,” said Stich in the Family Circle article.
So the next time you are tempted to wallow in a blue mood, vow to take charge of your own happiness. Laugh even if you don’t feel like laughing. Do something nice for another person instead of pitying yourself.
Take the initiative with friends and family.
And most important, actively choose your attitude—learn to see the opportunity even in difficult experiences.
Those are all things that are hard to do if you already feel half-depressed. But make yourself do them anyway. Think of it as an investment in happiness.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@aol.com or visit www.visit-snider.com

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