Being happy is behind every single human goal, objective, mission and wish to achieve that “something.” It has never truly been defined concisely, but everyone seems to aim for it. The achievement of happiness, the quest for happiness, the search for happiness. The U.S. Declaration of Independence even enshrines, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, “the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as fundamental to the American people.

Some say that happiness is simply the absence of suffering. Others claim that it cannot be measured on its own, but rather must be scaled against other more measurable values, such as money, success, and stress levels. But as we try to measure happiness against those static or tangible values, we find that they don’t match. For example, not only does more money fail to guarantee happiness, but sometimes it brings the complete opposite. For some people having less money means having less to worry about. Low stress levels don’t equate to happiness either. Some people with a completely full-throttle job with not one second to rest or to relax are happier than people with perfectly safe, secure and stress-free office desk shifts. Sometimes people with no visible stress are miserable.

To put it simply, happiness is a state of being, a state of consciousness, a spiritual connection with yourself. Therefore, it is a conscious decision that is made every single day. To live in happiness can only bring about positive energy to your life and allow you to grow and expand in ways you’ve only imagined, as well as improve your health. With so many benefits, who doesn’t want to be happy?

Here are five things that happy people have in common with how they live their lives.

1. Make a Conscious Decision to BE HAPPY.

If you know the late, great motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, you will be familiar with his common motivational statement, “People often say that Teenage girl jumping in the airmotivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we have to recommend it daily.”

It is no different with making the decision to be happy. You can’t just decide today you will be happy from now on and poof! you are happy everyday after that. Making the conscious decision to be happy is much more than just saying you are going to be happy. It is a spiritual experience, a deep connection with yourself. It’s a combination of your attitude, your gratitude, the love you exude to others, and how you feel about yourself INSIDE. It’s about having a great inner peace about who you are and how you live your life.

If you choose to live in love, give of yourself to serve and improve the lives of those around you, and be grateful for what you have every single day, you will live in great peace with yourself.

When you live with a great level of inner peace, you will be able to get through the biggest stresses in life, and confront some of the saddest events in your life with much more ease because of the love you have inside that you will exude to others. Living in love and giving of yourself to others is the purpose of why we are here. Once we make a conscious decision to change our lifestyle to live this way, our entire life will change.

2. Express Gratitude.

Expressing gratitude for what we have every single day literally changes the energy within you. It is an expression of love for what we have in our lives, so when that is felt within, everyone around you will be touched by that same level of gratitude.

You can start by creating and writing in a “gratitude journal” every morning or night to express your gratitude every single day. Studies have shown that people who write down at least 5 things they are thankful for once a week are 25 percept happier after ten weeks.

Happy people focus on what they have, not on what they don’t have. It’s motivating to want more in your career, relationships, bank account, etc. but thinking about what you already have, and expressing gratitude for it, shows that you are living in the present, not in the past or the future.

3. Pursue your Passion.

Almost everyone has an idea of what they LOVE to do, whether it be skating, crocheting, building things, dancing, singing, being a lawyer. Whatever your passion is, figure out how it will improve the lives of others, and get paid for it.

Pursuing a passion that improves the lives of others will bring about huge rewards in more ways than you can imagine. We are all here to serve a greater purpose and that is to serve our neighbors and take care of our communities. Therefore, if you can do that while fulfilling your passion you are living your TRUE self in our light, and living in love.

4. Surround Yourself around Positive People.

Surrounding yourself with positive people will literally change the energy you live in. Although it starts with you, the people you choose to hang around can literally influence how you feel about yourself, the decisions you make, and the liveliness inside you.

You want to have those around you who will be your sincere cheerleaders…..who genuinely want the best for you. Why would you want the nay sayers, or the “devil’s advocates” to rain on your parade?

It is always great to have a healthy debate about a decision you are trying to make….if the other person is bringing up common sense topics for you to consider so that you can make sure to review all of the circumstances that will be affected by your decision. But when you are around negative people, you will immediately feel the negative energy toward any decision you have to make…that will make you feel bad about yourself.

Make the conscious decision to surround yourself with positive people so that you can live at the top of your game and be completely open to living in your true light.

5. Give of Yourself to Improve the Lives of Others.

Giving of ourselves to those around us is one of the biggest accomplishments we can achieve. We are not here for us but to serve our communities to try to improve the lives of our fellow neighbors. To emphasize my point, here are a few quotes from Mother Teresa:

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” ― Mother Teresa

“Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” ― Mother Teresa

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” ― Mother Teresa

The common theme from Mother Teresa is that through the most simplest things we can live in love and kindness toward one another. So no matter what you choose to do, when you give of yourself to improve the lives of others, you will receive benefits that will exceed your imagination.

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