Are you are living in a lackluster state? What can you do to shake the dust off and let the sunshine in? Sometimes all you need to do to attain happiness is look at life a little differently and re-adjust the way you think. Here are some suggestions for thinking the way happy people think:

1)    Focus on moments of delight. Notice the bud on the Christmas cactus about to burst into bloom. Take time to laugh at the eagerness of your dog\’s wagging tail. These small moments can add so much joy to your life, if you let them. Of course big achievements are great too, they just don\’t happen as often. When they do come along, make an extra effort to celebrate them.

2)    Think big. You can only live as large as your mind lets you. Open it up. Think beyond the usual and go for a big goal. Yes, you may fail, but you can always try again. You most certainly will fail if you never try at all. Dream to do and be what your heart tells you, without limits. Then develop a step-by-step plan to achieve your goal.

3)    Live in the present. Yes, you can learn from the past, but don\’t yearn for the past. And yes, you should plan for the future, but don\’t pine for it. You can only achieve what you can do today. If you are trying to reach a goal, do a little bit right now to achieve it. Eventually you\’ll be amazed at how much change you can effect by making the best of the time you have in the present.

4)    Define your own success. Don\’t let other people tell you, through inference of outright admonishment, that you don\’t have enough money, success or even happiness. If your needs are satisfied, if you are in a loving relationship, if you have a rewarding vocation or avocation, stop and ask yourself what more you need. What YOU need, not your neighbor. And go after it. But only because you want to. Not because convention tells you that you ought to.

5)    Practice being grateful. Think about the people who bring you joy. Remember you are among the lucky people in this world who can take such banalities as plumbing for granted. Take a moment to notice what went well today. Some people keep a gratitude journal to keep track of the many things that bring happiness into their lives. Try it yourself and see how much happier you feel over time.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional.  If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch.  You can reach her here: