Delight, Discover, Dare: The Alphabet of Happiness -- 'D'

The more focusing on happiness becomes a daily habit, the faster we train our neural pathways to make happiness our default setting. Sound good? Here are three ways to increase your happiness now, all starting with the letter D.
03/14/2013 10:34 pm ET Updated May 14, 2013

Happiness comes in many forms. The more we reflect on happiness, the more we will notice it in day-to-day life. The more focusing on happiness becomes a daily habit, the faster we train our neural pathways to make happiness our default setting. Sound good? Here are three ways to increase your happiness now, all starting with the letter D.

Dedicate yourself to the good you deserve and desire for yourself. Give yourself peace of mind. You deserve to be happy. You deserve delight. -- Hannan Arendt

The potential for delight is everywhere. Just as a beautiful landscape delights the eye, and songs universally delight the ear, you are wired to be delighted by the awesomeness of life. The sublime beauty of nature exists all around you -- all you have to do is notice, appreciate and take it in. By making the time to savor an experience or a moment of connection, you will delight in the joy of being alive. This is not something external. From infancy onwards, (just watch a baby laughing) we are born with the innate capacity to be delighted. Delight is also not a cerebral concept. It's an undeniable feeling that washes over you, through you and lights you up from your very core. From the quiet feeling of profound communion to the high-intensity of a peak experience, delight shows up in many ways. Whether you are immersing yourself in the rhythms of dance, the thrill of savoring a sunset, the ultimate chocolate creation, or the way someone else is mirroring your own magnificence, allow yourself to delight in the feeling of delight. You are connecting with the potential for full-out joy that is your birthright. What has surprised and delighted you?

"Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it." -- Goethe

Have you ever had an amazing idea come to you in the shower, in dreams or at seemingly random moments... and then proceed to start doubting yourself that it was possible? If you are open to it, inspiration shows up; the real question is "Do you dare to act on it?" I love the quote by Mark Twain: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

What if you got yourself out of the way and trusted that the inspiration has come to you for a reason? What if you gave yourself permission to explore it? Not in a "This is not realistic" approach, but in the "Imagine what it would feel like if..." way. Then, what if you dared to take the first step in realizing it? By having the courage to make the first move, you are officially in the game, and that brings a higher level of attunement, engagement and openness to all the wonder that can come your way. The idea that the Berlin Wall could fall was inconceivable and ridiculously bold for a long time... but it happened. By daring to dream in and act on an inspiration, you open yourself up to what life wants to bring forth. As you take one small step and then another, you may be surprised to notice that the universe is conspiring to help you in unexpected ways. Dare to let life flow through you.

The greatest journey is not outside yourself; it's from the inside that you discover who you really are.

Though it's tempting to resist the struggles that come our way, (Really -- do I have to deal with that too?) what if they can be viewed as doorways to discovery? When you reflect on the lessons that you have learned by dealing with previous challenges, you discover how much stronger you've become as a result. When you cultivate self-compassion and consider that even when things didn't go your way, there just may be a bigger plan, you discover a growing sense of inner peace and self-love. As you have access to more love for yourself, you discover how much easier it is to love others. When you risk being authentic and expressing vulnerability, you discover that it brings you closer to the people that matter, rather than further away.

As you approach life with curiosity instead of fear, you uncover areas of interest that you never knew you had. When you challenge yourself to rise to an occasion and test yourself in new endeavors, you discover how brave you are and how far you can go. As you immerse yourself in a pursuit where hours feel like moments, you discover the timelessness of being in flow, and that you can tap into something greater.

When you listen to your inner voice in the stillness, you discover how deeply you are connected to all of life, and that you already have everything you need... inside of you.

What delights you in life, and what have you discovered when you dared to follow your dreams?

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