What makes you happy?

Getting in the happiness habit can be as simple as acquiring some proven patterns of living — and being sure they're rooted in your best values as a person.

We conducted a Facebook survey of Rogue Valley residents and ran across some new trends, as well as some very familiar standbys, such as nature, music, dance, coffee, chocolate and, of course, love.

Appreciating the little things is a big thing, notes Chiron Rae. "Appreciating life, others and my Self has been my best habit. I actually do tell myself, 'I love you,' regularly, and I mean it!

"Making others happy really does bring me pleasure too," she adds. "I love to notice what's beautiful and pleasing 'out loud,' so complimenting others comes naturally and makes me happy."

Lisa Pavati says "love, gratitude and doing service" make her happy. "And dance."

"Cooking and sharing with friends and family," make Julie VandenBert happy, along with "regular exercise, making art, reading, getting away from it all once in a while."

The simple and good things in life, in our stress and hurry, are too easy to forget about, says Dawn Kc. But sometimes, it's life's little "sins" that bring joy, such as "chocolate ... instant happiness for me."

Josh Ingram credits "the music in my iPod and coffee" while Jen Sweet goes with "coffee in the morning, hugs, quality time, a good movie."

Elisa Perez kept coffee in the happiness mix, "My family, coffee, white sticky rice, good soulful music."

And so did Sally Marie Couch: "My first cup of coffee in the morning, coming home and my dog is so happy, she's ... bonkers.

"Giving a word to someone that brings hope back into their soul, seeing my kids who have moved away, being in my garden."

For Web designer and Internet-marketing coach Betsy Lewis, it's "a good cup of coffee in the morning, a good book waiting for me at the end of the day and — in between — having creative work to do."

"Sparkly, star stickers (not a joke), sunshine on my face through a window, warm fluffy blankets, summer dresses, Pinterest," says Nina Pepin. "Even thinking of these things makes me happy."

Singer Jacquelene Ambrose adds to that list: "When I'm singing, that is where the magic of happiness lies within me. That and mutually kissing someone who knows how. Yep, heaven on Earth for me."

Fitness is a key to happiness for 65-year-old Carol Ann Garner. "Working out, staying physically fit keeps me emotionally balanced and enables me to stay positive for life's challenges."

That great feeling of being on track with your body — and other natural highs — keeps Anna Christensen smiling.

"Being in complete, loving connection with my main squeeze and feeling equally reciprocated with passionate presence," continues Christensen. "Feeling strong, energetic and agile in my body. Singing with abandon!"

Shelley Lotz finds that much happiness comes from keeping core values central to her lifestyle: "Freedom to do what I want, when I want. Only be around positive energy. I don't allow things in my life that bring me down. And travel and doing what I enjoy for work. Working for myself means freedom. Of course, family and friends, but nature uplifts the soul. Trees, mountains, beaches, animals."

Dance came up a lot in this survey.

Bjorg Smidt writes, "Dancing Argentine tango! Also, feeling the dirt on my hands as I work in my garden."

Zahara Solomon says, "Music on shuffle, lighting candles, turning out lights, dancing whatever wants to come out. Sometimes crying, sometimes laughing, always till I am sweaty, out of breath and feel lighter. Long walks in the mountains. And as a last resort ... dark chocolate with a glass of red wine."

Some people find happiness in stillness and by applying tools from an array of spiritual options.

It's "my morning Sadhana (spiritual practice of stretches and yoga)," says Diane Horbacewicz. "It seems happiness lands on my shoulder like a butterfly that was just waiting for me to be still enough so it could land. Then meditating, reading, journaling, chanting ... and dancing!"

Cynthia Wright notes, "Releasing attachment to outcome. Truly being in the moment. Allowing true connection with others. Lastly, but mostly, CHOOSING to be happy does the trick, no matter the circumstances."

Leela Harlem says, "Starting my day with an hour connection in nature sets my equilibrium of well-being. The balance between my infinite, expanded, unified self with the 10,000 things (life's stuff and worries) and then walking that awareness right down into my moment by moment."

Deb Heatherstone finds happiness by "seeing beauty in nature, in people and their art, in music and in words."

For Acacia Land, it's "feeling the eternal goodness and unconditional love in myself and sharing it. Feeling a part of something — the rising up of consciousness on the planet, community, family, circles I am involved in — makes me so happy."

Sometimes happiness lies in the act of not obsessing about it.

"Sometimes simply NOT trying to feel happy when what I'm really feeling is depressed or miserable makes me sort of happy," observes Jim Malachi. "Staying fully committed to whatever it is I am experiencing and allowing it time to 'work through me,' and by reminding myself that I have learned as much from despair as I have from joy."

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