Gladness Goals

On a scale of miserable to ecstatic, how glad are you at this moment?

Miserable ——- Sad ——- Meh ——- Okay ——- Cheerful ——- Happy ——- Ecstatic!

Do you realize that your happiness is entirely under your control?

You can experience gladness of heart if you want. Here are seven simple ways to build gladness into your life.

1. Hugs

Hugs make you feel more psychologically secure.

-Leo Buscaglia

I wasn’t always a hugger. I come from a family of non-huggers. Hugging felt intrusive and sometimes intimidating.

Then I moved about 65 miles north, away from my hometown of 31 years. It was a surprisingly huge culture shock. Part of that shock was that almost everyone I met was a hugger.

And I didn’t hate it. In fact, I drank it up like I had found a well of cold water in the desert. It was, and is, one of the most wonderful changes in my life.

The science behind hugging is proof that a hug can change your day, or even your life. So go hug someone. Now.

2. Laugh with someone at least daily.

Laugh, not at someone, but with someone. Comedians can be funny (not always) and a child’s antics may be amusing, but sharing the intimacy of a moment of community with a laugh is healthy for both mind and body.

3. Compliment at least three people daily.

An honest compliment can make anyone’s day, and it will make yours as well. When you train yourself to look for an comment on a positive attribute or action of another, you tend to have a more positive outlook yourself.

4. Help someone at least three times a week.

You help someone so much more when you offer a hand-up instead of a hand-out. Science and society have shown over and over again the benefits of helping others, for the giver as well as the receiver.

What can I do with what I have to help others?

5. Keep a gratitude journal.

It is commonplace for many of us, myself included, to take for granted that our everyday needs and wants are amply supplied.

~ I have a roof over my head, floors under my feet, and heat, A/C, electricity, running hot and cold water, and an abundance of appliances.

~ I have a closet full of nice, comfortable clothes and shoes, a dresser full of clothes, and even a spare closet of special occasion clothes. I have a washer and dryer to clean all of these clothes. I even have an assortment of extra clothes for my grandchildren in their playroom.

~ I have family and friends that I love and that love me.

~ I have the freedom and the ability to worship and practice my faith in a multitude of ways. I am allowed to use my abilities to lead and teach and bless others.

~ I can read and write and sing and walk and so many other blessings.

~ I have all of these things and so many more that I can (although I shouldn’t) forget to be grateful.

I have been without many of these needs and wants at various times in my life, so you would think I wouldn’t forget… but I do. Perhaps listing three things each day that I am thankful to have experienced or I have been blessed with would help all of us to appreciate the really good lives we have.

6. Say “Thank you” and mean it.

How many times have you said those two words in the past week and it wasn’t just a mindless phrase repeated because it was expected? How about yesterday? How about this morning?

Words become just that, words, when we aren’t truly experiencing the meaning behind them. Now, I don’t suggest that you stop saying thank you unless you have the time to meditate over the action for which you would typically say thank you. This actually refers back to being grateful.

Do this. Try writing a thank you note to someone, anyone, for something they did that truly made you feel gratitude. Do it again.

Do this. Try giving an authentic smile when the words “Thank you” come out of your mouth.

Do this. Say “Thank you” and genuinely mean it.

7. Be kind to yourself.

Give yourself grace. You are not perfect. No one is. So why beat yourself up over mistakes and missteps? Learn from it and live your life. No one else can do this for you.

Give yourself goodies. Take a long, hot bath. Go for a walk. Start a list of aspects that you like about yourself. No one else needs to see this list, so start liking yourself!

Give yourself great memories. Hang out with friends if that is your thing, and take photos. Write down what you want to remember and make an album that will make you happy. Hang out with yourself if that is your thing. Write in a diary or journal, or make art, or listen to your favorite music.

And finally,

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