• Happiness is the current buzzword in psychology today. How can we create it? Is it really the ultimate prize? We all know we can only control our circumstances to some degree. What kind of attitudes do people who profess to be happy have so that regardless of what’s transpiring in their lives they keep their spirits high?

    Here are some of the attitudes that contribute to happiness.

    1) Choose to think positive, helpful, and uplifting thoughts.

    We do have a choice. We can choose to trash ourselves, blame other people and situations, or hang out in any place but the present. In these cases, we create negativity and therefore allow ourselves to get dragged down in the dumps. We have the power to focus on what’s good and what’s working well for us as women over 50.

    2) Feel good about yourself no matter what.

    Mistakes are a way of life. It’s how we learn. If you are one of those folks who beat yourself up, stop it! Replace that negative commentary with a “mantra” that contradicts your old messages, such as “I’m doing the best I can. / I did the best I could.” I’m fine and I’m doing fine.” Or “Life is for learning. We all make mistakes.” Repeat relentlessly.

    3) Accept other people and situations.

    Our expectations keep us perennially dissatisfied and disappointed. We’re much better off if we recognize that life and people don’t and can’t live up to our views of how they should be. When you notice your anger, frustration, or judgments running your show, stop and remind yourself, “People and things are the way they are, not the way I want them to be.” True acceptance doesn’t mean passivity. It means speaking up and taking action from a stance of accepting what is presented and moving on.

    4) Keep your focus in the present.

    Lamenting the past or worrying about the future only increases your fear and robs you of your opportunity to enjoy the now. If you’re feeling stresses and overwhelmed, make a list of issues, topics, and projects that need attention, prioritize them, and deal with one at a time. Reward yourself for every little victory or completed task.

    5) Go with the flow.

    Be resilient to the ups and downs of what life deals you. You’re not in control so give up that notion and focus on making every day the best it can be. This means be grateful for and remember what you have, big and little. Don’t hold on to what happened in the past and keep smelling the roses today.

    6) Communicate lovingly and effectively.

    All good communication boils down to four simple rules: 1) talk about yourself (this means refrain from telling other people about themselves), 2) stay specific, (resist the urge to overgeneralize, with terms such as “always” and “nevers”), 3) focus on the positive and what will move things forward, (rather than being grumpy and dwelling on what’s not working), and 4) truly listen in order to understand (which translates to stop interrupting or planning your next response).

    Jude Bijou

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    Article by: Jude Bijou

    Jude Bijou, MA, MFT, is a respected psychotherapist, professional educator, and workshop leader. Her theory of Attitude Reconstruction® evolved over the course of more than 30 years working with clients as a licensed marriage and family therapist, and is the subject of her award-winning book, Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life. See more at www.AttitudeReconstruction.com.  

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    1. beaudmj@gmail.com' Phoebe says:

      Good advice. As we get older it’s important not to focus on our regrets. Also I like the photo of the trees–just looking at greenry feels oxygenating!