How many ways does happiness show up in your life, and what are the strategies to experience more of it? Happiness, meaning and connection are close at hand. Here are three more ways from the "Alphabet of Happiness" to bring it home:
Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. -- Yakov Smirnoff
Have you ever walked into a room, heard someone laughing and could not help but start to laugh yourself? Not only is laughter a medicine that boosts your immune system, triggers the release of endorphins, relieves stress, and has no negative side effects, it is flat out contagious.
Laughter is your ally, magic potion and all-around salve for the soul. It comes in many shapes and forms, from an inner amusement that just makes you crack a smile, to the wild abandon of laughing till tears trickle down your cheeks. Each has its own place, and all lighten the spirit, reveal the awesomeness of life and bring you back to who you really are.
Even when challenges present themselves, it is laughter that prevents you from taking yourself too seriously. Rather than get bent out of shape by some of the things people can say or do, try to look at situations through the lens of amusement. Amusement offers a freedom and ease that allows life to move through you, rather than stop you in your tracks. One thing is sure, when you are amused or laughing, you are opening up to positivity; you are going with the flow.
What is your favorite moment of laughter and how do you feel remembering it?
I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen. -- Ernest Hemingway
The ability to listen is one of the most profound gifts a person can bestow. Listening is a skill that opens up new levels of relationships, and holds the power to transform challenges into opportunities. Who does not love it when they sense they are really being heard?
Listening with intention means being fully present for the one who is talking... and pause long enough to hear the real meaning beyond just the words. When listening intentionally, the chatter of the mind is turned way down, and other senses become more acute. Have you noticed that when you are really present for someone else, you can observe more from her or his facial expressions and body language? The one who is talking will eventually relax too, knowing that their words are really being considered.
Listening is further enhanced when you add an intent to be compassionate and not interrupt. Don't be surprised that even conflicts can melt away when both sides realize that we're all just trying to be accepted, to be safe and to be appreciated. Listening is not an act of meekness -- it is one of the most powerful catalysts for change that two people can explore.
Where there is love there is life. -- Mahatma Gandhi
Love is the secret to the universe. It resides in the energy of a heartbeat, the majesty of the mountains, the smallest drop of dew to the vastness of the galaxies.
Love is necessary for survival. It is a glue that brings people together: from the primal bond of mother and child, to friendship, romantic love, love for people, or love for something greater. We are born from love, into love and depart this world moving towards a reunion with love. It is our human aspiration -- to love and be loved. It is what we reflect on in our last moments and it gives depth and meaning to all the days in between. It is never too late to tell someone that you love them. If you knew you had a relatively short time left, who would you want to connect with to express your love?
Love is also the catalyst of our better natures; it inspires passion, activates the best within us, and invites us to share that with others. Love offers insight when times are tough, and creates the conditions for kindness, understanding, forgiveness and transcendence. When people connect with the essence of love, anything is possible. It is the fuel of positive change.
The good news is that love is not something that we have to find -- it lives in each of us, just waiting to be released. Unleash your love and your authentic expression. Now as never before, the world is waiting...
What other "L" words inspire you? When can you remember being moved by laughter, listening or all out love?
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