Guidelines to Happiness, As Told By Yours Truly

1. Be nostaglic. The things that made you happiest as a child paved way for the joys you have as an adult. The things that make you happy now will give you a reason to smile in the future. Think about that time you played Cops and Robbers with your neighborhood friends, or when you finally gathered up the courage to jump into the deep end without floaties because you knew you could finally swim. Think about looking at a blank wall or sidewalk and just picturing all the pretty pictures you’d like to draw on them, with the smiling sun and bumblebee that were your trademarks. Just remember that, even though life was simpler back then, the simple and little things will always make you happiest if you know how to appreciate them.

2. The past is good, but the present is better. Never, ever, ever worry about the future. Live in the moment, if the moment makes you happy. If you’re pleased with where you are and what point in life you’re at, don’t think about or worry about the future, because its time will come soon enough. If you think too much about the sunrise, you’ll never be able to enjoy the stars.

3. Take a deep breath. The best thing for you will always be fresh air. Go outside, especially on a winter day, and just take a deep breath. Let that clear, crisp air fill your lungs and send snowflakes twinkling toward your nerve endings. When you’re stressed or overwhelmed, take a few deep breaths. Not only is this a biologically proven method to calm the brain and lower blood pressure, but it will always improve your mood.

4. Don’t procrastinate. Need to clean your room? Put on some jams to get you motivated. Need to write a paper? Turn your phone on the “Do Not Disturb” setting and turn off your WiFi. Need to go grocery shopping? Think about taking the scenic route to the store, and start driving with good music blaring and your windows down. Once everything is done, you will feel so wonderful. You won’t worry about getting stressed and you won’t be up all hours of the night figuring out how you’re gonna get it finished. Get active, and you’ll feel better.

5. Read. Read to enjoy, read to learn, read to escape. Find a book that sounds interesting, whether it be poetry or prose, Fall in love with characters or faraway places. Live the life they live, in order to escape the stresses of your own. Even if you don’t like to read, there is a book out there for you.

6. Be there for your friends, but be there for yourself. The best way I found to be happy is to make yourself happy. When you’re not feeling so well, and you think you won’t ever feel better without the words of somebody else, you will probably be let down. Not everybody knows what you want or need to hear. Not everybody knows how to help you. But you do. If you look to find that bright side, that light at the end of every tunnel, you will be strong enough to thrill yourself. It’ll take time to find that light, but it’s always there. When your friends are sad, tell them what you think they need to hear. Never please or humor anybody for their own false benefit. Tell them what they need to know in order to make a permanent difference in the way they feel about something. That goes for yourself too. It’s all about what’s necessary, not what’s pleasant.

7. Dance. Dance when you’re cooking, dance when you’re happy, dance when you’re lonely. Dance or sing or do something in which you can put all of your emotion. Put your passion in what you do. Passion is what drives talent, and without passion, you’re boring. Never be boring.

8. Go out. Go to coffeeshops, go to local shows, go to museums and galleries. Take walks, find new places. Be intrigued with the new things that you find. Go window shopping and pretend you’re made of high money. Explore and challenge yourself and enjoy your surroundings.

9. Be classy. Dress sophisticated, even when you’re not doing anything important. Walk with confidence and a radiating presence. Walk tall and walk careful. Don’t rush and don’t drag your feet. The more confident and classy you look, the more respect people will give you. Passersby will look at you in a completely new light. First impressions are everything.

10. Let go of the old, and always embrace the new. When I say let go of the old, I mean to block out bad memories; to let go of people in your life that only harm you; put that embarrassing phase you went through five years ago away in a locked box and forget about it, unless of course you’re remembering to laugh at it. Embrace all the new you find. Listen to the new music regularly, never stop searching for a new getaway place. Build new dreams and change the color of your walls. Each new change in your life is a new adventure, and adventure is never old.

I write these with the intent of fulfilling them myself, yet I still have ways to go, much like most of you. Never stop trying, and never forget the little things in life. I promise, everything will be worth your while. Good luck and God Bless. xo

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