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How can I be happy with who I am?

Arianna Huffington
Health Education

These days, happiness has been reduced to instant gratification. It should be mine by right, mine simply because I’m alive. And yet a quiet voice within us keeps whispering that in getting things and getting recognition we are not going to become happy. But the voice is drowned in the cacophony of our culture, commanding, ordering us to be happy. When we make happiness itself our goal, we are traveling down another dead end. Happiness will always stay ahead of us, out of reach. We are like the child who wants to camp out on the horizon, but the more he hikes toward it, the more it recedes. Eventually, he lies down and weeps in frustration, surrounded by mountain glories he never notices. Although we think of happiness as something to pursue, the original perception of that pursuit saw happiness as something that ensues -- not as the goal, but as the consequence of having achieved the goals of compassion and understanding, of reaching out to help others and finding peace within ourselves. Given these things, happiness will follow.

Happiness doesn't come from what you have or your career but from recognizing what you have, experts say. Start by accepting yourself, flaws and all, and living in the present. Set measurable, attainable goals. Forgive past hurts. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by reducing each day aiming for about 30 minutes of aerobic activity - walking, swimming, dancing or whatever you find enjoyable. Don't forget to manage your stress by making time for fun. Watching comedies, visiting silly Web sites, even playing with a hula-hoop counts.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.