1 Your happiness is your own choice. Outside circumstances, people, and things have little bearing on its attainment. Until you accept and realize this fact, you would often end up frustrated and disappointed. Give up this notion and replace it with the following ideas that could be the keys to finding happiness in your life:

• Count your blessings. Often, when you suffer some failures or mishaps, you immediately think of the things you lost. Thinking too much of things that could be gone forever is just a waste of time and energy. It would just overwhelm you with the sense of loss and guilt. Instead, focus more on what is left. Rebuilt your life by working on the resources you still have which you could use or improve on. These may include the support of friends and family
members, your physical and spiritual strength, your indomitable spirit, your strong motivation to move, and your optimistic attitude. These are your remaining resources that could help you re-start over again.

• Live by the Golden Rule. Always treat others the way you want be treated yourself — with mutual respect and dignity. Be considerate and compassionate towards others. Practice good karma, believing that what sow, you would harvest back in full measure.

• Be grateful always. Practice, not only paying back, but also paying forward. Be grateful of what you receive in life and see to it that you promptly express gratitude, not only to your benefactors, but also to the people who do not have the capabilities to return your favours. The latter practice of paying forward has a very strong potential of multiplying the good deeds you do a hundred fold, touching more lives in the process. This results in reaping more joy in the long run — just like earning a residual happiness in life.

• Let go. Sometimes, small and non-essential things are what bog you down. Do not waste your time and energy sweating the small things. Let go of the minor inconveniences and issues that can perpetuate negative feelings such as anger, greed, resentment, miseries, guilt, etc.

1• Be responsible for your words and actions. You are not perfect and no one should expect you to be so. Be aware and brave enough to accept your limitations. If you fail, do not look for scapegoats but try to learn from the failure. Blaming and putting others down to save yourself is counter-productive for all concerned.

• Choose your crowd. “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are” is a wise observation of people. Therefore, be with happy and positive-minded people. In case you happen to wander among pessimists, do not to be influenced by their negativity but try to win them by your happy disposition. Refuse to listen to their tales of woes because this will encourage them to spill out more miseries.

• Honesty is the best policy indeed. Truth is essential to achieve freedom and happiness. Happiness has no space in a mind that is filled with guilt and dishonesty. Happy people have more respect for honest and candid opinions over the sweet but deceitful flatteries.

• Act the part. Happy people exude happiness in everything they do. It shows through their mannerisms and you hear it whenever they speak. Their happiness is contagious and their very presence lights up the ambiance of the place. It has been proven scientifically that a smile, even a forced one, can trigger the brain’s production of the neuro-transmitters called serotonin. Serotonin contributes to a person’s feelings of well-being; therefore it is also known as a happiness hormone.

• Be passionate. Find and do the things you enjoy most in life. Do not be afraid to try new things because these can expand your horizon. The wider is your range of interest, the more freedom you enjoy and, therefore, the happier you become.

• Welcome challenges. While pessimists see these trials as challenges, happy people see them as opportunities to improve their lives. The more challenges you meet and are able to overcome, the stronger and wiser you become. You may feel anxious sometimes but never fearful to face life’s vicissitudes.

1• Live in the present. Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. Happy people live in the present while unhappy ones waste their time regretting the past which could not be undone anymore; they worrying about the future which is just an uncertain dream. Happy people, on the other hand, busy themselves expressing their gratitude for the “now” which they consider a “present” – or a “gift” to them.

At this point, it is best to remember what Sai Baba, an Indian spiritual leader, said: “What matters is to live in the present, live now, for every moment is now. It is your thoughts and acts of the moment that create your future. The outline of your future path already exists, for you created its
pattern by your past.”

These life’s precepts can be your secret keys to open wide the door of happiness for you. Use them.