3 Keys to a Happy, Fulfilling Life

In this post, I'd like to share what I find are the three ingredients to a joyful, satisfying life. I call them the 3 Ls: live, laugh, love. The fact they all begin with the same letter surely makes them easier to remember.

1. Live: It's fine to be cautious and prudent, but we needn't live so austerely as to inhibit ourselves from enjoying life. In other words, we should strive to live our lives, but in responsible ways. The trick is to achieve a sensible middle ground. Running up credit card debit and drinking while driving don't constitute living  life to the fullest. They're examples of reckless behavior that can get you in heaps of trouble, if not endanger your life. Instead, we should make the most of our lives by soaking up memorable experiences. Travel the world (without overextending yourself financially, of course). Hit up new restaurants close to home and far away. Try your hand at skydiving, scuba diving, and other exciting activities you never thought yourself capable of doing. We only live once; why not try to create magnificent, long-lasting memories while we're at it?

2. Laugh: Someone once said that laughter is music for the soul. I think we'd all agree that few things in this world feel as good as a hearty laugh. (The more tears we can shed in the process, the better.) Whether elicited by a good joke or someone's zany antics, laughter is the perfect antidote to a bad day. Researchers have found that it releases various "feel good" hormones, like endorphins, that put us in a great mood. Whenever I'm feeling down, nothing lifts my spirits quite like a funny movie or YouTube video. The more we can laugh, the happier we'll ultimately be.

3. Love: Love's critical role in our lives can't be overestimated. It's been proven that people who feel loved are not only happier and healthier, but go on to live longer. The love we give and receive from our parents, friends, partner, and children gives us a reason to get up in the morning. But as I've stressed in prior posts, you have to love yourself first and foremost. Before you can truly accept and appreciate others' love, you must love yourself for who you are, flaws and all. Others' love should serve to enhance your life -- not complete it. Love builds our self-esteem and gives us a sunny outlook on life. The more love in our lives, the better and more optimistic we feel.

So the next time you're feeling a little melancholy, think about the many ways the three Ls can work for you. Whether you opt to travel overseas, watch a comedy flick, or arrange a family gathering, I assure you that they'll help brighten your day.

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