For my morning break at work, I went outside to read some of  What Color is Your Parachute as I’m trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, even though I’m 29. When I got to the bench outside someone from my department was already out there on break and asked what I was reading. I showed her the cover and her face lit up immediately.

“Oh, I’ve read that!” she excitedly exclaimed. “Isn’t it a good book?” she asked me.

I shrugged my shoulders. “I’m not that far in,” I explained, “and so far I’m fairly certain that I do not even have a parachute.”

She studied me for a moment before asking, “Do you like it here?”

I thought about lying for a brief moment. “I hate it actually,” I told her.

“It’s obvious,” she said as she got up to leave. “I hope you find what you’re looking for in there,” she said as she tapped the front of my book.

I smiled. Then she said to me, “I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen you smile! You should do that more often.” And then she went inside.

I didn’t read any of the book on my break as I was consumed with only one thought…

Am I really that unhappy?

Yes, I do not like my job and plan on fleeing from it as soon as possible. I’m in a great relationship though. No, I’m not where I want to be in life but I am confident that I will get there.

I dunno, maybe I am rather miserable. If so, how does one find happiness? Or is happiness supposed to find you? And why is it called finding happiness, is it really lost? Maybe happiness is there all the time and there’s just something blocking it from shining through. A big, ugly anti-happiness cloud. That’s what I call my mother, but that’s another story entirely.

I think that maybe all of us have happiness in us, which is where the finding comes in. Somewhere along the way, it’s gotten buried beneath all the masks we wear and the stresses of day to day life.

For some of us, being happy can be as simple as choosing to be happy. Write a little mantra of ‘today I choose to be happy’ and stick it on your bathroom mirror. As you’re getting ready in the morning, read it aloud to yourself.

Positive thinking is an easy way to let your happiness shine through. By eliminating negative thinking, you are only leaving room for positive thoughts, and thus happiness is born. Avoid negative thinkers.

Surround yourself with other happy people. Much like laughter (and the sniffles), happiness is infectious. Study them, and then do as they do.

Do something to make someone else smile. Sounds simple enough and maybe even a bit lame to you, but do not discount its effectiveness. Sometimes it can be something as simple as holding the door for someone with their arms full of stuff. Remember the pay it forward principle?

Fill your day with things you love. Okay, so maybe you have to work in Finance to pay your bills, but you can still have things you love throughout the day. Love comic books? Treat yourself by bringing some to work to read on your break. If you can listen to music at work, listen to your fave bands. Keep photos on your desk of places and people that you love. Talk to loved ones on your breaks if you can.

Get to know yourself better. By knowing yourself better and being more attuned to your emotion-meter, you will know what does and does not make you happy. An easy way to accomplish this is daily meditation, which clearly I need to work on starting today!

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