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This week I received possibly my best compliment ever! Yes, a dear, longtime friend said, “You have a happy bone.”

A happy bone, I pondered? Just what could that mean? He answered, “You are always happy.”

Later as I reflected about my happiness, my “most of the time happiness” I decided that my friend was right. I am a happy person. Oh, I have had sad times; even bad times, however, I have survived and eventually my survival provided a smile upon my face.

Of course, my having double dimples has helped, too. I think these are my best feature and if there was not a smile on my face, no one would have ever noticed. I mean Hubs has always liked them for many years now and as an aside, he has double dimples, too. Therefore we both smile a lot.

So yes, a smile is important, but in order to present an authentic smile, I have learned that one must have a happy bone.

I admit there are days, weeks, even months when I had to strain in order to bring a dazzling smile upon my countenance. Yes, a frown would have made the most aggravating effort to form where the smile belonged. I worked through it each and every time and the smile won the competition over and over.

Now it is not always easy, the smile, that is – sometimes on a gloomy day or an over abundance of political news, the downturn of a frown will try to take over, but that is when I turn off the TV news and call to my pup, KayKay. The two of us will take a brisk walk and the smile returns. She smiles, too. I do declare that she does, really, and I believe as well that she has the happy bone.

Didn’t the renowned poet, Henry David Thoreau, once write, “Happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it, the more it will elude you but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”

I need to make this clear, a butterfly has never sat on my shoulder, nope, but I do turn my attention to happy things and thoughts therefore in way that butterfly is near me at all times. I hope the little thing is yellow – a happy color.

But I suppose, most importantly, we have a choice to make and I choose to be happy. I recently read a “happy” advice column posted at www.webmed.com entitled “Choosing to be happy” written by Tom Valeo and I totally agree with his advice, actually his happiness advice is mostly the lifestyle I have always chosen.

1. Don’t worry, choose happy.

Now that’s a mouthful my Granny would have said. Sometimes I think that worry is overrated. So you worry and what have you really accomplished but a frowny face. Think happy and your dazzling smile will once again appear.

2. Be Grateful

There’s something to “Count your blessings, one by one.” Try it and see.

3. Forgiveness

That’s a hard one – we have all suffered at the hands of those whom we trusted, but if we hold to the bitterness, we will never be happy.

4. Reject negative thoughts and feelings.

Practice meditation and/or relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or yoga. Soon happiness will become forefront in your life.

5. Money can’t buy you happiness.

What’s the old adage, “You can’t take it with you.” Oh, it is nice to enjoy financial gain, but it is best to cultivate great friendships and loving family members. They will be with you when the money is gone.

6. Friendships

Friends are one of our greatest blessings.

7. Meaningful activities

Do you want to feel a glow in your heart? Do something nice for a person who really needs your help. Then that glow is guaranteed.

So yes, I do believe that I have a happy bone and I want to thank my good, longtime friend, Dr. Philip Levin for his kind words this week.

Anne B McKee is a Mississippi historian, writer and storyteller. She is listed on the Mississippi Humanities Speakers Bureau and Mississippi Arts Commission’s Performing Artist and Teaching Artist Rosters. See her web site: www.annemckeestoryteller.com.

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