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Reclaim your happiness

©Glow Images: models used for illustrative purposes only

"If you're happy and you know it," begins the childhood favorite. You would then clap your hands, stomp your feet, and shout "Hurray!" Remember those times? Where has all that joyful enthusiasm gone?

A lot gets the blame for depleting happiness: responsibilities, aging, job, stress, and more. Consumerism is often cited as a happiness killer too. Yet, studies indicate the importance of nurturing it. "Clear and compelling evidence" exists, according to Science Daily, "that – all else being equal – happy people tend to live longer and experience better health than their unhappy peers."

Happiness is not an acquisition proposition. It has everything to do with giving. "Happiness consists in being and in doing good; only what God gives, and what we give ourselves and others through His tenure, confers happiness: conscious worth satisfies the hungry heart, and nothing else can," penned Mary Baker Eddy.

The "pursuit of Happiness" made famous by Thomas Jefferson and considered an unalienable right endowed by the Creator, is not a chase, but rather a choice. If it seems always out of reach, then you're looking in the wrong place.

The right place might be closer than you think – inside yourself. Happiness is "heavily influenced by our choices - our inner attitudes, how we approach our relationships, our personal values and our sense of purpose," according to Action for Happiness, a non-profit movement contributing to the dialog around the globe. Their pledge: "I will try to create more happiness and less unhappiness in the world around me."

Creating a "happy" state of mind can be work, especially when convinced that you don't deserve one. Even when times and circumstances discourage gladness; cultivating a more joyful stance is doable, because it is natural, God given. Happiness is something to be cherished, not buried.

Thursday, March 20th marks International Day of Happiness, a United Nations observance. The international body refers to happiness as a global priority.

It should be a priority for each of us. Experiencing or regaining a robust sense of well-being and the joy and fulfillment that go along with it can start with a simple, loving thought or prayer given for someone else. Try it. Claim your happiness. Then, "If you're happy and you know it, your face will surely show it!"

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Steve Salt is a syndicated health blogger and a Christian Science teacher and practitioner. This post was originally published on the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Follow him on twitter @saltseasoned.

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