If You're Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands...
When I was in elementary school we would sing the song "If You're Happy and You Know It." It would be followed by many directions like, clap your hands, stomp your feet, shout hooray, etc. Looking retrospectively, I remember singing this song with excitement even if I wasn't happy, because receiving extra points for class participation was quite important to me. More recently, I meet people who are not happy and only going through the motions. I call it "window dressing," looking good on the outside with a big pretty smile like a mannequin in a Neiman Marcus window, while the inside is hollow and empty.
You don't have to say you're happy when it's not true. You can be happier in minutes using these five Ms. Vicki quick tips.
5. Give Yourself Positive Self-Affirmations. This is very important because our lives can be so busy that we forget to nurture ourselves. I can think of many positive self-affirmations that I say all through the day. Some of them may be famous quotes, biblical scriptures or even affirmations that I've created. I get happy when I say "Vicki, you are so smart, capable, and strong" and "I am so unique, I'm great". You should delete my name and insert your name and say the same. You're getting happier already.
4. SMILE Every Time You Look Into a Mirror. I make other people smile when I smile. I was in a public ladies' room today smiling at myself in mirror. Interestingly, a woman noticed me and she looked in the mirror and started to smile. Another woman entered the ladies room and initially looked concerned when she saw two women looking in the mirror smiling, but she started smiling too. Smiles are contagious and your smile is contagious for you.
3. Get Rid of the Takers. Believe it or not, but you may have many people in your life who are taking your happiness. More specifically, they are taking everything from you and they never have anything to give to you in return: they are "takers." Get rid of them. They are hazardous to your happiness. Surround yourself with other people who want to be happy too.
2. Trust Your Gut. Quite often we can miss out on happiness because we don't trust ourselves to make good decisions. As a result, we miss out on great opportunities because we are afraid to make a move. You are afraid to take a promotion, continue your education, move to a different city or state, accept a date with the guy who has asked you out on more than one occasion, etc. You constantly second guess yourself because you are afraid of making a mistake. If you have that nagging voice in the back of your head that says "go for it", but you don't, you're saying "no" to happiness over and over. Today you should say "happiness belongs to me." Having said that...
1. Learn How (and When) to Say "No." Being over-extended and over-committed can ruin any chance of happiness. You may be filling your life with obligations that other people give you. You are afraid to say "no" because you don't want to be rude or offend anyone. You are not happy because these tasks and commitments are not fulfilling for you. You are tired, stressed and even angry because you have agreed to do one more thing that you don't have time or the wish to do. Practice saying, "I'll have to decline this task because my time won't permit it," "No thank you, I'm not interested," "I'm already too busy," "Please feel free to ask someone else who can give you a full commitment" or "I'm sorry, but I have to say no." Leave it there, you don't need to explain. Having clear boundaries is very important to your happiness. Happy people are able to set good boundaries.
The next time you someone sings "If you're happy and you know it clap your hands, stomp your feet, shout hooray": you will sing it and you will mean it with these five quick tips to happiness in minutes.
Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, is married to an active-duty Soldier and has three sons. She has a Master's of Science in Social Work from the University of Louisville, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and currently works as a therapist with military servicemembers and their families. She provides services for a wide array of concerns such as combat stress, PTSD, couples and marital problems, depression, grief and loss, stress and coping.
Ms. Vicki also writes an advice column "Dear Ms. Vicki" that appears in the Washington Times, the Fort Campbell Courier and the Heidelberg Herald Post. Ms. Vicki also hosts an internet radio show and blogs on her community site with the Washington Times. If you want to ask Ms. Vicki for advice about your military life, please email her at AskMsVicki@military-inc.com.
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