In J. M. Barrie’s delightful book, Peter Pan, one of the children asks Peter how is it that he can fly. Peter responds, “You just think lovely wonderful thoughts and they lift you up in the air.”
Like Peter, I am a firm believer in the power of words. No, I don’t believe they can help us fly around the room. But positive words can lift our spirits while negative words can bring us down.
If you don’t believe that, say the following words out loud and see how you feel after you’ve recited them: angry, upset, miserable, sad, tearful, despondent, discouraged, depressed.
Now say these words, either to yourself or out loud: cheerful, happy, joyous, jolly, exuberant, elated, overjoyed, euphoric.
Any difference? Perhaps it was a subtle one, and maybe for only a moment, but there probably was a change in your tone of voice, your mood, or the expression on your face.
If the words we speak or the thoughts we think can alter the way we react to the world, then it is important to keep them positive if we are seeking to be happier. And guess what? Those words or thoughts don’t necessarily have to be your own. They can be from some of the great thinkers, authors and leaders throughout history and around the world.
To that end, I have assembled a dozen of some of my favorite quotations on happiness for you to savor. I suggest you choose a few and keep them nearby. Use them as affirmations to lift your day and enrich your life.
Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.
– Omar Khayyam, mathematician, astronomer and poet (1048-1131)
Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.
– Dale Carnegie, writer/lecturer, and pioneer in self-improvement training (1888-1955)
Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.
– H. Jackson Brown, Jr., inspirational author (b. 1940)
Perfect happiness is a beautiful sunset, the giggle of a grandchild, the first snowfall. It’s the little things that make happy moments, not the grand events. Joy comes in sips, not gulps.
– Sharon Draper, author/educator (b. 1948)
It’s not possible to experience constant euphoria, but if you’re grateful, you can find happiness in everything.
– Pharrell Williams, singer/songwriter (b. 1973)
Cheerfulness is contagious, but don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.
If you want to be happy, get enthusiastic about something.
– Dale Carnegie
The secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their troubles.
– William Penn, founder of The American Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (1644-1718)
Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.
– Denis Waitley, author/motivational speaker (b. 1933)
Joy is your birthright.
– Sarah Ban Breathnach, author/motivational speaker (b. 1947)
I have found that most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
– attributed to Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States of America (1809-1865)
The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here.
– Robert G. Ingersoll, lawyer/politician (1833-1899)
Happiness and love are just a choice away.
– Leo Buscaglia, author/motivational speaker (1924-1998)