Most of us are familiar with that personal "weather pattern." There are those afternoon thunderstorms that suddenly roll in and threaten to ruin the rest of our day. When this happens we usually have one of 2 choices: put on the rain coat and deal with it, or get soaked. What if you don't have that first choice, what do you do then? I got soaked - and loved it.

I literally did get soaked during this event. It had been the driest summer in a while and no one expected a fast moving thunderstorm to dump like it did. There are other times I get soaked too, the trick here is do you let it soak into your spirit - or not. I decided a long time ago that being grumpy was not fun and all it did was bring me down. From there on out, I made the choice and through self-discovery found five ways that I can be happy.

1. Choose to Be Happy

Sometimes it is a literal choice that you have to mentally make. It is that mental picture of the fork in the road where one road is happiness and one road is sadness. I like to use a surfing analogy here: most often, the way you are looking is the way you are going to travel. If you are happy and looking up, you will travel up.

2. Replace those Bad Thoughts with Happy Ones

In a sports psychology class I took they gave the actual example of athletes picturing a stop sign in their mind any time a self-defeating thought came up. The stop sign was to signal that they needed a stop in their behavior and change. Anytime you are having "down" thoughts, replace them.

3. Take a Break

Not many of us make the most rational decisions when we are upset. Take a break, refresh and come back when you have a clearer picture of what needs to happen. Being upset does not result in many productive actions.

4. Do Something Fun

Hopefully when choosing to do something fun we choose to do something constructive that will help us in the long run. For example, something fun might be talking on the phone with a friend, exercising or working on a certain hobby. I will be the first person to admit that I really like chocolate, but eating it is not always the healthy answer.

5. Count Your Blessings

No matter what, there is always something to be thankful for. One time I was shoveling rocks with a roommate and she started commenting on how great it was to be doing this together and what a beautiful day it was. We had a great time.

Make the choice to be happy, and do it today. Yes there is a time for sadness, but quickly replace it with happiness. It is better for health, it improves your outlook on life and I also believe it is contagious. How will you spread the happiness today?

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