Let’s Get Happy!
Are you one of those people who is inherently happy? Good for you! Most of us experience peaks and valleys of happiness and our goal is to make the peaks higher and more frequent, and the valleys shallow and few. Happiness is sometimes an elusive goal, especially during stressful times (like during the holidays), or for people who suffer from clinical depression. We all want to be happy, but how do we do it?
I recently ran across a book called “100 Simple Secrets Of Happy People” by David Niven, Ph.D. In it, the author identified scientifically verified traits that happy people possess. His premise was that yes, some people are inherently happy, but most happy people practice simple life principles that create win/win situations for happiness. Following his advice, while we might not become “inherently happy,” we can increase our levels of happiness, or make ourselves more predisposed to it. So,
Let’s Get Happy!
1. Enjoy the ordinary. Statistically, you are more likely to have an ordinary day than an extraordinary one. You can’t live your life waiting for those extraordinary days. Focus on today and see the positive and good things in it – even the ordinary things. The example in the book was the act of walking the dog. Sure, walking the dog is a chore, but by walking the dog, you get a chance to be outside, get some exercise and enjoy nature. Ordinary? Yes. Enjoyable? Absolutely!
2. Don’t confuse happiness with stuff. This is a good one that kind of dovetails into that old saying, “money can’t buy happiness.” The author uses this example: “Imagine this was your last day on earth. Now make a list for yourself of all the things that you feel you have accomplished, all the things you are proud of and all the things that make you happy.” What would be on your list? I feel certain that not one thing you own would be on the list. According to the author, the fundamental elements of happiness are “your relationships with friends and family, and the contributions you have made in others’ lives…” So true.
3. Believe in ultimate justice. It is neither your right nor responsibility to right every wrong – even those wrongs committed against you. Believe that there is a higher power who can inflict ultimate justice and that such justice extends far beyond the justice of which you are capable. Even if you don’t get to see it, know that it will be done. (Personal note – this is one that I truly practice. When someone truly hurts me, I step back and let God “whip their butt.” I’m sure he can do a better job than I can! That’s not to say that I am not above a little revenge. Make me mad and I might just put a curse on you and your generations…..don’t forget I’m from Louisiana! lol)
4. Choose your comparisons wisely. I have always said that one sure way to make yourself feel bad is to compare yourself to the wrong people. Instead of looking externally, look inward and you will likely find you are and already have what you seek.
5. Never trade your morals for your goals. This is one to really think about. Never compromise what you really believe to satisfy your goals. You may reach your goals, but you will never be truly happy about it. Put a pin in that one!
6. Accomplish something everyday. It is important for us to see and mark progress everyday, otherwise life is just a treadmill that keeps moving but you stay in the same spot. Humans need a sense of accomplishment to feel fulfilled. Identify what is important to you and work on it everyday, even if it is a small task. Set goals, no matter how small, and work toward them. Even if you never reach the goal, you will get a sense of accomplishment from your efforts. (Personal note – this one is hard for me. I get caught up in the mundane tasks of everyday life or get caught up helping other people achieve their goals, without working on my own. Don’t be like me.)
7. Events are temporary. Happy people don’t let unhappy events define them. They recognize that things happen, and while it is ok to be sad or stalled by them for a season, seasons change. At some point it is time to pick yourself up and dust yourself off. Look at it this way, sometimes the bad stuff might be the thing that you need to make the necessary changes in your life. According to the author, “Your disappointments are important and serious, but your distress will pass and your life will move you in a different direction.” Good observation.
8. Have a purpose. There is a reason that every one of us is on this earth. While our ultimate purpose may be murky, you can set a personal purpose until your ultimate purpose becomes clear.
9. Understand that satisfaction is relative and complete satisfaction does not exist. Whoa – stop and let that soak. Life is not perfect and neither are you. My very first blog post was entitled “Tired Of Trying To Be Perfect? Martha Stewart Doesn’t Live Here”. It talked about how we must release ourselves from the goal of perfection and focus instead on satisfaction. Stop looking to objective standards to determine whether YOU are happy. Do your personal best and focus on the true endgoal.
10. Be open to new ideas. Personal growth and evolution requires that we be open and flexible to new possibilities, ready to learn and try different things. Be a life long learner and doer – you’ll be happier for it. I hate to see older people whose worlds get smaller and smaller as they get older – they stop going out and they rely on the television for most of their stimulation. Eventually, their perception of the world is based on what they see on the news – and the news is never good. They become afraid of even familiar things and eventually become housebound because of their fear of the world. Don’t let this happen to you! Keep an open mind. Make it a habit to go out, explore, and learn new things.
Use this tips to help you increase the happiness quotient in your life. Be a part of the crusade to happiness!
HAVE A HAPPY DAY!
Photo Credit: Kim Thomas of KPFusion.com