"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."
It took me a long time to realize that Mr. Lincoln was right, and we can make up our minds to be happy - at least most of the time. But wait! Abe forgot to leave detailed instructions on how, exactly, to do that.
So how exactly does one make up one's mind to be happy? After much thought and experimentation, I came up with a formula that works for me. I decided to channel happiness in basically the same way so many talented people channel those who have passed over to the other side.
Here's my recipe for channeling happiness. Please feel free to use it if you like, and please feel free to change or rearrange it to suit your own needs. "Presto, chango, re-arrange-o", and it magically becomes all yours!
Materials needed: None
Although props never hurt! With that in mind, I suggest the following:
1 pretty pillow (or silk scarf, bedspread, field of flowers, beach towel, patch of green grass, sandy beach, comic section from the newspaper, hot bath, etc.)
1 stick of incense (or fragrant flower, freshly brewed coffee, homemade cookies baking in the oven, bath salts, etc.)
1 fluffy kitten (or tank of fish, a dog, a baby, a flock of birds flying overhead, etc. If you don't have one on hand, a photo will do.)
1 memory of a time when you were truly happy.
Seat yourself comfortably on whatever gives you pleasure at the moment.
Inhale the scent of something that reminds you of a happy time.
Focus on a beloved pet, favorite kind of animal, or baby. Notice the way they live in the moment, and how happy the simplest things make them.
Focus on a favorite moment of happiness from your own past. Revel in the memory and open your heart and mind. Let that moment of happiness fill you up and overflow to fill the space around you. Tell yourself that you can re-experience this feeling any time you like, no matter what is going on in your current life. And soon enough, this will be true.
Share the happiness you feel by doing something nice for someone else.