With millions of people constantly on the look-out for the pure and unadulterated emotion believed to only exist within the hearts of care-free and innocent children, it can be easy to look for happiness in all the wrong places.

According to neuroscientist Dr. Richard Davidson, deep within each one of us, whether young or old, is a “happiness muscle”.  He explained how happiness can be something we can train our minds and bodies to have, just like when we hit the gym and train rigorously to pump our muscles. This is supported by related studies which prove that the human brain is very much trainable. Ideas, habits and practices which are geared toward finding and keeping happiness can help people achieve deep satisfaction and live fuller lives.

Research methods may vary, but all of them mean one thing: Happiness is not a brand new car, and it isn’t certainly isn’t getting ahead at work. There is no need to search far and wide for happiness, because it is a seed that is just waiting to be cultivated within the heart of each individual who seeks it.

Only you have the power to turn on your happiness button. Here are some ways to be happy today:

  • Soak up some sunlight.

If you would like to have a great start to your day, take a walk outside in the morning. Even on a cloudy day, the light outside is still way better than your indoor lights. As your eyes receive natural light, they immediately send signals to your brain, which then boosts the production of serotonin, which is also known as “the happy hormone”. Serotonin keeps your anxiety levels down, regulates your mood, and boosts your sexuality and appetite. You only need to literally open your eyes.

  • Indulge in a childhood favorite.

There is always something from your childhood that gives you a warm feeling all over. Is it the smell of apple cinnamon cookies wafting through your home? Is it making rocks skip on the river on lazy afternoons? Is it home-made jam? Even as an adult, bringing back these things will make you feel care-free and happy again, just like it did when you were a kid.

  • Contact an old friend.

Friends are an indispensible part of our lives. We lose touch, but we will always feel happy about the times we spent with a special person. Revisiting happy old days and catching up with an old friend can help you boost your morale and allow you to find more meaning in the life you have now. Relationships and experiences are a major factor behind a person’s sense of well-being.

  • Do something different.

A unique event in your everyday life can add an instant splash of color and excitement. If you always take the train, try the bus today. If all your work clothes are neutrals, try pastels or bolder hues. Talk to a stranger; verbalize an idea at the board meeting; cook something you have never tried before. It’s not about becoming successful or finding positive results (although these would simply be great add-ons). Being able to tell yourself that you did something new is a great happiness booster.

  • Be thankful.

If your mindset is “I will be happy if…”, then it’s about time that you changed it to “I will be happy because…” When tempted with feelings of disappointment, jealousy, and frustration over what you can’t have, close your eyes and think about what you are thankful for, whether small or big. Having a grateful outlook in life allows you to change your perspective and appreciate what you have without constantly wishing you had more.

Skinny Mom Favorite: ”No one is in control of your happiness but you; therefore, you have the power to change anything about yourself or your life that you want to change.” - Barbara de A