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  • Katherine Elder, PhD, Licensed Psychologist

If You're Happy and You Know It

We can all recall this children's sing along "If you're happy and you know it clap your hands". Well, how many of you would be clapping your hands right now if you heard this song? My guess is not as many adults would be enthusiastically clapping their hands at the start of this song as preschoolers. What happens between childhood and adulthood where happy becomes a thing of the past?

I invite you to think about the concept of "being happy" and what it means to be so. Many of us are tricked into thinking that if we had a newer car, a better job, a nicer spouse, better behaved children, more generous parents, higher grades and made more money THEN we would be happy. Research shows us the exact opposite. It is happy people who are more successful.

We have to start with being happy. And by now you are thinking "well how am I supposed to do that when all these crappy things are happening?". Let's go back to babies and children, they are naturally happy. And the sound of children laughing (next to the sound of birds) has been voted the favorite thing for people to hear. Kids have a default setting to happy. If they are not happy then you know it and then they move on. They do not stay stuck in misery, anger, and worry. Happiness is how we are wired as human beings.

As you begin or continue your day today practice being happy in each moment. If this is a focus then you will help rewire your perspective of yourself. You can try smiling when focusing on being happy, you can create a mantra of happiness you repeat during the day, and you can write down reminders of being happy to help you succeed with redirecting your rational mind to being happy.

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