1. Choose to be yourself.
We are living in a society that is constantly developing — however, it is important for you to be yourself inside out. Stand true to your grounds. You have to know what you believe in and the values that you live by. When you are not yourself, you will live life on other people’s expectations. Just remember, you have this one life and this is your chance to build your own identity.
2. Choose to appreciate the obedience of your body.
Be happy you have the simple ability to eat, walk, hear, and think. Be thankful for your legs that allow you to walk on the beach, run a marathon, climb the stairs, and hike the mountains. Be thankful for your arms that allow you to hug your loved ones, give handshakes, the ability to straighten your hair, apply make-up, and so forth. Treat your body like a temple. You only have this one body for this lifetime, so take good care of it.
3. Choose to share.
Share your thoughts with others. Bring people together. Introduce your old friends to your new friends. If you know two single people compatible for one another (and actually compatible, not just by virtue of the fact that they’re both single) arrange a blind date! If someone is looking for a job, and you have the connections, help them out. All these good deeds will benefit you in the long run — but helping other people find their happiness is a benefit in itself.
4. Choose to travel.
Be a tourist in your own life. Choose your favorite destinations and historical sites. Now is always the best time to travel. Tomorrow will come, and you don’t know if you will be around or if you will have the physical ability to travel. When I became an occupational therapist, my first patient was my father. I will never forget the moment when he told me in the hospital, “don’t wait for retirement to see the world, go out there while your limbs are working and explore, because you will never know your health condition in your later years.”
5. Choose to know money alone can’t buy happiness.
Money itself won’t buy happiness. Unfortunately, many people believe that if you own a big house, fancy car, expensive clothing, and so forth, it will allow you to live a happier life. It’s a known fact that you need money for basic survival. Money will pay for your bills, food, and the roof over your head. However, spending money on experiences that you will cherish for a lifetime is more valuable in the long run than materialistic items that will be new for now but will not even be touched later.
6. Choose to accept failure.
When you fail at something, it’s emotionally difficult and hard to overcome. We’ve heard it a hundred times but to truly succeed, you must fail. I remember when I had to study for my board exam, everyone around me was passing with flying colors that I thought so would I. However, this was one of the biggest struggles in my early 20s that determined my career. Standardized testing and I didn’t get along too well. After trying and trying, I finally passed! This experience not only made me a stronger individual, but also made me a strong occupational therapist. During times of failure, surround yourself with positive people who will enlighten you. Time will heal everything, and you will succeed.
7. Choose to count your blessings every day.
Don’t wait for Thanksgiving Day to be thankful for what you have. Wake up every morning feeling thankful for your family, friends, job and health you have. Some days you might think you have it bad, but trust me: people out there have it a lot worse than you. I went to Cambodia this summer, and I learned the average income is $750 a year per household. It amazed me how a person survived with such minimal income. Many households did not have a television, or even electricity, yet you always saw a smile on each Cambodian’s face whether he or she had money or not. This made me appreciate and be thankful for my life, and made me realize you shouldn’t take what you have for granted.
8. Choose to forgive.
Someone will break your heart. Someone will betray you. Someone will abandon you. Unfortunately, life isn’t perfect, but you forgive and forget. When you are forgiving someone, you are not doing it for them — you are doing it for yourself. This gives you the ability to move on and not dwell on the past. When you forgive someone, that doesn’t mean you have to be friends with them again, or allow them back into your life (everyone’s situation is different), but the ability to make peace with the pain and to let go is essential for you to be happy.
9. Choose to love.
Loving yourself first is an essential part of happiness. I’m a firm believer in the Law of Attraction — loving yourself radiates out from you and makes you more attractive, to everyone around you. Accept yourself in your own imperfect skin and embrace your natural beauty. Go out without make-up for a day, allow your skin to breath, and feel beautiful.
10. Choose to live.
For one day, take yourself away from social media. Stop caring what people are posting on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Stop caring who likes your pictures or wall posts on social media. Social media is a good servant but a bad master. Go out there and pay attention to your surroundings and appreciate nature. Connect with someone who you have not spoken to in a long time. Pick up a hobby you’ve been saying you wanted to do. This is your one life to be happy and live.