Springtime Happiness

Photo Taken in Happiness-Inspiring Wildwood, NJ

“Happiness, not another place, but this place…not for another hour, but for this hour.” ~ Walt Whitman
What makes you happy? As we sail into spring, SPF (and antihistamines) on hand, with winter in our rearview mirrors and extended sunlight hours upon us, we’re sure to be happier, right? Well, maybe, depending on how you define happiness. Is it circumstantial? A science? A seaside escape? Social connections or social media? Is it based on the amount of friends or the amount of followers (even if you can’t recall who many of those followers are?) Does happiness come from the things we possess or the thoughts we create?
It’s a dichotomy, really, the notion that money can’t buy happiness, but can buy beachfront property. For some, a seaside sanctuary is the closest spot to Heavenly happiness they’ll claim. So, cold, hard cash can buy some happiness?
To a degree, sure, but as it turns out, it is our mindset, not our money (or lack thereof) that creates lasting happiness; the quality of our hearts, not the size of our wallets, that generates honest to goodness contentment.
Thich Nhat Hanh, a wise and hopefully happy old soul once said, “There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.” With respect to the Buddhist monk, some of us are “directionally challenged” and could use some handy, helpful tips.
Enter Yale psychology professor Laurie Santos, who teaches a popular class on happiness called “The Psychology of the Good Life” and schools her students in the science of that much sought-after state of mind.
The key ingredients to the “Good Life,” Santos discovered, include healthy, human connections, being mindful of the present moment and, you (probably) guessed it, gratefulness.
Well, that sounds simply enough, right?
With that in mind, whatever road you follow, may this spring find you coasting contentedly, living presently and gratefully in your very own happy place by land or by sea…

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