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The Alphabet of Happiness: 'C'

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The Alphabet of Happiness is a reminder of the many ways to access happiness in your life now. Though at times it may appear to be elusive, happiness is all around you -- especially if you know where to look! The good news is that the more you focus on happiness, the faster you can activate the neural pathways that bring you more. Here are three ways to explore your own happiness that start with the letter "C."

Choice

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." -- Victor Frankel

While we cannot choose the challenges that life presents, we can choose how we deal with them. Choice is one of the greatest strengths people possess. By the thoughts you think and how you frame a situation, you can choose to be victim or survivor. By daring to dream and the little steps you take towards those dreams, you can reshape your future. You are more powerful than you know. Now, you can choose to use that power purposefully:
Choose to notice and focus on the good that is already in your life.
Choose to count your blessings instead of ruminating on your losses.
Choose to create your future rather than have circumstances determine your fate.
Choose to honor your gifts and share them with others.
Choose to be around people that nourish you.
Choose to be there for others, too.
Choose to focus on love over fear.
Get up each morning and say, "I choose to be happy."
And choose to appreciate when happiness shows up in subtle ways throughout your day!

Connection

"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect." -- Chief Seattle

Connection is one of our fundamental human needs. It's also one of the building blocks of genuine happiness. Just looking at babies, it's clear that human connection and love are just as important as food for the very survival of the species. We are social animals and we depend on one another to flourish and grow. Connection has others aspects too, and each one adds a new dimension. Here are three facets of connection that can activate our lives:

Connecting to Our Inner Self: Our inner self is like the calm depth and vastness of the ocean. Though there may be turbulent waves of emotions at the surface, there is always an immense calm reservoir in the depths below. The inner self shows up in many ways. Have you ever heard the whispers of intuition in the quiet hours, maybe even in the shower? Do you sometimes just have a gut feeling about a person or a situation? Do you trust your inner compass to guide you where you need to go? Listening to your deeper self will reveal the answers. Make time to connect with you!

Connecting to Others: By focusing your attention on being there for others, you expand yourself to include more -- more life, deeper relationships and greater meaning. Touching someone else's life, whether through community, volunteering or just by being a friend opens the door to a joy that lingers. When you connect with the heart of another, the good feelings will come right back to you. Beautiful and meaningful moments await when you reach out to those around you.

Connecting to Something Greater: What if everyone is born with a purpose, and equipped with the abilities to bring it forth: like the power of choice, intelligence, innate talents and a creative spark? That spark lives in each and every person and connects us to something greater. You too are part of something greater, however you define it. You have that spark of greatness within you. You have already felt that connection at times in your life. Know that it is on call anytime -- just waiting for you to say, "yes!"

Creativity

"The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself." -- Alan Alda

Did you know that there is a well of creativity in you? People are not born creative or not -- everyone has the capacity. It's just a question of whether we give it room to breath and grow. Creativity is when you put aside reason, expectation and attachment to outcomes. Picasso says, "The chief enemy of creativity is 'good' sense." Give yourself permission to just play with an idea. Allow it to jump around to places unknown. Ask, "What if..." and be open to where it takes you, without predetermining "how" this creative journey unfolds. And if self-doubt creeps in, (as it's been known to do), the antidote is refocusing on why you're doing it: for fun, for curiosity, for the love of being in the moment. Here's a hint: When you lose track of time, and hours feel like moments, you're on to something. You can be creative in business, while doing sports, creating art, or expressing love. When the creative energy flows through you, you are there. Embrace your creativity however it presents itself. It will revitalize you, and remind you of who you are.

What strategies work for you? What other "C"s lead you down your path to happiness?

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