By: Suzanne Reisler Litwin
Very often I hear people complaining about their spouse not making them happy or their friends not making them happy. I ask myself this question, “Since when is it someone else’s responsibility to make you happy?” We all have the power to be happy. Life will always throw you curves and spitballs, but it should be our own responsibility to be happy.
It is easy to be happy if you have the will to do so. Here’s the big catch…it doesn’t cost a thing, except your time. If you are willing to give some time into being happy, happiness will come to you. My father always told me, “The more good you give, the more good will come to you”. I believe this is true and for this reason I do as much volunteer work as I can. Sometimes I ask myself if I am doing this for myself or for the organization I volunteer for.
Here’s another big catch…volunteer work makes you feel really good about yourself and happy. I wonder if it is selfless or selfish? Occasionally, I bring my dog to visit elderly people. He is a wonderful, loving dog who only wants to be caressed and loved. When we visit, the elderly people come alive and smile and embrace my dog Bear. For a short moment they feel joy and happiness. This in turn makes me really happy. When I leave the seniors residence I am beaming with happiness and joy. I am happy for the joy I have brought and for the joy I feel inside. The cost… one hour and half of my time and I’m walking on air. I feel that I gave happy and happy came to me. My dog is also fulfilled from all the affection he received. Win, win situation!
Here is another really cheap way of finding happy. Go for a brisk walk or a short run. It is a guarantee that you will feel better after you have finished. No matter how I feel before I have exercised, I will always feel better after. When you do this kind of activity you fill your body with oxygen. This allows you to clear you head of thoughts that might be bothering you. Take bigger strides than a regular walk. Keep your head held high with good posture. Breathe in the air to fill up your lungs and walk with pride and strength. Swing your arms and move your body. Suddenly, you will feel alive and see everything more clearly. Cost…maybe 30 minutes of your time, unless you have more time. Will you feel happy when you are finished? Definitely! Next time you do this, walk along a walking path or along a water way and/or visit a new environment. Saturdays in the summer is my favorite day to walk or run in parks as I know I will see wedding parties and brides. If you walk or run in a scenic area you are bound to see this. Does this make me feel happy? Oh, yes it does and it’s free!
Another way to find happy is to fundraise for a worthwhile organization. Firstly, you will raise funds for an important cause. Secondly, the experience will bring you joy. I participate in a Walk event once a year for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I send out specialty letters to my sponsors in hope they will send donations to this organization on my behalf. These letters go out about 6 weeks in advance to the event. Once my letters are received, within a day the giving begins. Currently people can make their donations on line. For approximately 6 weeks I receive emails notifying me of donations that have been made on my behalf for this organization. This feels as if I am receiving gifts daily. The donation is not for me at all, but it feels that way. How does this make me feel? Wonderful!!!!
On the day of the event, I am so proud to walk knowing that this organization will be receiving a beautiful donation on behalf of my sponsors. The cost…my mailing and my time. The pay back is a fabulous feeling that lasts for months. I encourage everyone to do this at least once in their lifetime, it’s amazing. This makes me feel really happy and proud. Another win, win situation!
I do understand that many people are time poor and don’t have the time and resources to do the above suggestions. I realize this. The message I hope to give is inspiration and that your happiness is yours and no one else’s. It is what you do in your life that will yield your own happiness. It doesn’t take much to make it happen. It just takes will and desire to move forward. When you create happiness, happiness will come to you.
What I suggest you do to find happy?
- Realize that it is you who will make it happen.
- Walk proud and tall and take big strides forward. Oxygenate your body.
- Join an organization and volunteer in some way to make people happy, which in turn will make you happy too.
- Raise funds for an organization and see the difference you will make in other people’s lives and in turn this will make you happy too.
- Spread some joy in life and you will find more joy in your own.
- Seek out beautiful environments to walk or run in and see other happy people.
- Bring a friend along and share this experience and they will also be happy.
- Once you find a new way of happy, don’t stop, keep it going and share this.
- Volunteer work is a win, win happy situation.
- If you have had success doing this, share this with people and spread the good word and smile!
- One more…Dogs are happy animals!
Suzanne Reisler Litwin is an author/writer/columnist/educator. She contributes every Monday morning to the West Island Blog’s Keeping it Real Column.
She is an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban newspaper. She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. She lives in Montreal, Canada with her 3 children, Allyn, Taylor, and Duke and her husband Laurie. Suzanne contributes regularly to West Island Blog under her column Keeping it Real. Please visit her website www.suzannereislerlitwin.com to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.