Happiness is our birthright, even though it may not seem that way sometimes. This little article has some practical tips that actually help.
(this article is copied here in its original from under a Creative Commons license from wikiHow)
Everybody gets moody. That’s why people go on diets, spend too much money for clothes, or suck up to popular people – because they think it will make them happy! That happiness often proves to come to us! However, if you get to know people around you, you will see what makes the happiest people crazy.
- Keep your thought process and think positive. If you catch yourself thinking that things aren’t going to work out, then think again. Remember that most things work out better than you fear – so imagine that your fears are ungrounded and that success is real. Rather than thinking of the problems and getting desperate, imagine the best outcome and then work out what you need to do to make that happen. Follow your “inner guidance system.” If the thoughts you are thinking are not giving you that ‘good feeling’, then think about something else that will make you feel good in that moment. Observe your thoughts and ideas consistently throughout the day (diary/journal possible). Sometimes this may not be as easy as you think if you are stuck in a “negative” train of thought and your brain chemicals are getting fired up and forming an “anxiety or anger” pathway. Anxiety, fear and anger patterns can be interrupted by focusing on doing a math problem, counting backwards, counting in odd numbers, doing a sudoku puzzle, etc. – this will dissipate the rush of chemicals that are making you feel bad. Immediately then go back to picturing scenes/remembering things/imagining, planning stuff that makes you feel ‘good’.
- Give a little. It is possible giving time and resources to others who need them will contribute more to your happiness and creative outlook on life than most anything else. The key to successful family relationships is sacrificing time for others. Give of your time to your spouse and give yourself up for him/her. Devote time and resources to your children and recognize they are your most valuable worldly asset. The happiest days of our lives, when we really dig down deep, is when we see the smile on the face of a child who has nothing and you have given them something of immense value to them such as reading them a book, it means you love them enough to give of your time. Serve at a rescue mission and you will learn the meaning of “I cried because I had no shoes and then I saw a man who had no legs.” Give and it will be given unto you. Isn’t it true the happiest people we know are typically the ones who for some foolish reason are always ready to give you the clothes off of their back? And frequently it is true that the most discontented people are the ones who are selfish, demanding, and inconsiderate of others. So form the habit of being a Big Giver and you will know one of the secrets to successful happy living. In media, common terms include: ‘you are what you radiate’, ‘you live what you give’ and ‘everything comes back to you’.
- Don’t lie to yourself- see everything for exactly what it is. You have friends and family that love you. Learn How to be thankful. Think of all the things you have to be happy about. Relax, calm down, take things slower. No one has everything, and everyone has something of sorrow intermingled with gladness of life. The trick is to make the laughter outweigh the tears. We cannot change the past, but we can enjoy today, and look to the future. But if we are prepared to take ownership for the past and accept that everything that happened in our life, good and bad, has made us the person we are – the battle is half won.
- Lighten up. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Never over analyze anything. Stress can cause many mental, physical, and spiritual problems in your life. One of the major causes of stress is worrying about things that are out of your control. Learn to recognize these things and if you can truly do nothing about them, then just let them go. Take time to laugh at yourself and the situations you find yourself in. Laughter is a powerful, positive medicine and the calmer and more peaceful you can take things, the happier your life will be. It wouldn’t be life if some bad things don’t happen.
- Be yourself. You can’t please everybody. Much criticism is people discontented with themselves, not you. Comparing yourself to others is rarely accurate in your personal life (obviously: they are themselves – you are you!). In the first place, no one knows what other people are going through. More importantly, when you compare yourself to other people, you often see yourself on the “short end”. See how this is not helpful to you or your goals. One way to get ‘in touch with yourself’ is through journaling, diaries or (lately) blogs. Your goal may be to open up completely to yourself and learn to be your best friend by knowing that the truth (to yourself) will set you free from fear! Practice self-acceptance – or learn to transform from mistakes. Find ways to enjoy things you are uncomfortable with. You’ll respect yourself for getting through challenges, and that self-respect will make you happy.
- Make a scheduled time every day for relaxation. This is a good time to go over any therapy that you’re working on. Having a “relaxation/meditation” time or a “quiet time” every day strengthens you, allows the stress and tension in your life to evaporate, and keeps you more on a positive, even keel.
- Get a job you love. Some stats say 80% of people dislike their jobs! If you have a job you hate or dislike, seriously consider changing your job, or even changing careers. Having a job that makes you look forward to your day when you wake up in the morning is critical to a happy, fulfilled life. Making special time to enjoy interests, hobbies, and family, not only makes life happier, but helps us be more productive on the job.
- Develop a strong relationship with your family. That includes trust. If you are in an abusive family, you must find a way to stop the abuse that may include separation. If you want a stronger relationship with your family, you’re going to need to be honest with them. Tell your family about your life and don’t insult them – it hurts them just as much as it hurts you to be insulted.
- Choose the right companion. Get involved with activities that reflect who you are, and get to know people who like the things you do. Don’t rule out the Internet as a place to find a significant other, just get to know them over the phone or through a few months of emails before agreeing to a meeting in person.
- Choose your friends carefully. Nearly everyone needs someone who cares for them and treats them well. If you have friends who are treating you badly, then ditch them and find friends that do care about you. If you can’t find any friends like that in your current circumstances, then look elsewhere. If you’re feeling sad, there’s nothing like going out with your friends to make you feel better. Surround yourself with friends who are positive, encouraging, and helpful. We all need this continuing, positive encouragement to make solid positive progress in life.
- Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself. Volunteer at a hospital or be a part of a program, which take care of patients in some way. When you leave the hospital, you will be so much happier knowing that you’ve done something meaningful, something someone else can appreciate. (mentioned above).
- Wish the best for others and mean it. It is so easy to be jealous and petty and forget to celebrate the good fortune of your coworkers, friends and family.
- Keep learning. Whether it is a new hobby or a new dance, just keep learning something that interests you. Just find a new interest and go for it!! It will give you something to keep you occupied, and a new outlook on life.
- Set goals. Live up to them. When you accomplish a goal, it’s a great feeling. If you put all your failures down to other people, you put yourself in their power. Take responsibility for when things go wrong in your life.
- Be healthy. Give your body and mind what it most needs in order to function in an “optimal” way. “Optimal” in this case means being the healthiest you can be, and the most psychologically balanced you can be. Eat a healthy, balanced diet and ensure that you get all the vital vitamins and minerals that your body requires for its optimal biochemical functioning. Supplement your diet with the appropriate vitamins and minerals if necessary. Get plenty of exercise. This will prompt the production of the “feel good” hormones that make you feel happy (endorphins). Plus, there are all the other obvious fitness and disease fighting benefits, too numerous to mention here.
- Strive for long term goals vs. short term satisfaction. It is very easy to gain short term satisfaction, a quick high, a fast relief from your current problems. But it is what it is , a “short term” satisfaction, its effects die out very soon, leaving you again with this empty feeling. Set long term goals, set a goal which takes some time, some thought, some effort to achieve. This will make you continually work towards improving yourself bit by bit and will give you the satisfaction of bringing a permanent change in your life. A permanent ‘revolution’ means ‘a recurring now’.
- Sometimes the best way to feel happy is to feel despair (‘the way to it is through it’) or the only way out is to laugh at the shambles of a predicament you’re in.
- Create something: be it some artwork (no matter how bad or good), make a scrapbook of pretty pictures, sing your heart out, dance manically until your feet and body give way or perhaps cook a delicious meal for people you love.
- Learn how to feel and experience all your different senses in the best possible way: sight, sound, taste, touch, smell (relaxation & ‘full minded’ meditation practice… mentioned above).
- Walk down the street and greet your neighbours with a smile, a nod and a greeting… or if that fails, hug them. But make sure it’s okay. A lot of people would think of you as creepy and when you notice people avoiding you, you probably wouldn’t be too happy.
- Try thinking of a creative vow and write it down. Make it something like: I vow to give at least two compliments to two different people and to try to control my anger by counting in my head before reacting.
- If you have problems getting your feelings and opinions away from other people, learn the techniques of self-assertion, rather than using anger or avoidance by bottling them all up inside.
- Take up a spiritual practice. Research shows that people who meditate have a somewhat detached approach to the problems of this life, and are calmer, happier and more contented than usual. Turning to that higher power, closing your eyes and thinking of artistic images, doing deep breathing, etc. Can give you a sense of peace.
- Try to make someone else happy and you will feel happy for achieving something!
- Research suggests that happy people have a simple mental strategy towards life. When they think about something good that happened to them, they explore how they personally contributed to that good feeling and feel happy about themselves.
- Listen to the music that makes you feel good. When you wake up, put on some uplifting / upbeat music.
- Be honest with yourself. Is there something that is keeping you from being happy – an addiction, a bad habit, or insecurity? Observe it carefully first – then take action!
- Smile! It’s contagious and takes less effort than frowning. Stressing about money or things out of your control rarely makes things ‘better’.
- Get the correct amount of sleep every night. This varies depending on age, gender and exercise – but too little or too much is hard on your body.
- When you receive a compliment from others, accept it and say “thank you”, with a smile.
- Get and/or stay healthy by eating right and exercising.
- The true key to happiness is acceptance – learning to be happy with what you already have. A lot of people know it but don’t quite keep it in their minds. Comparing your life with others is dangerous – it leads to pride and envy. Accept the gifts you received and stop wishing for something ‘bigger, better &/or different’.
- Pay your bills on time and be in the habit of keeping an orderly home. Treat yourself to something special once in a while, not because you ‘need’ it, but just because you ‘want’ it. Fulfill your own desires once in a while.
- Caring for and loving a pet is a great way to stay happy if you have that stability in your life. If you have the time, energy, and commitment to take on the responsibility of caring for a pet, you might consider this. (Don’t rush into this or adopt a pet for the wrong reasons! This is a long-term commitment, but is a great way to share your happiness).
- Make new friends and talk to them about your problems. Listen to theirs, communicate.
- Try to get out of the house – hang out with friends, do something outdoors, visit a museum. Variation in your routine will break up monotony and relieve boredom.
- Even in the most terrible times, do not turn to alcohol, drugs, internet, or anything else that is addictive, abusive to the health of you or others. Bad habits grow like weeds – they are easy to get yet hard to outgrow.
- Keep a “Thankful For…” Journal. Every day write down a few things that you are thankful for and then review what you have written in past entries. It’s a great way to remind yourself to be thankful for what you have and to boost your mood! For extra challenge, find creative ways to give back to these situations or people.
- Think about happy thoughts like going to see that new movie this weekend.
- Remember that things could always be a lot worse than they already are.
- Remember a happy thought is ‘creative’ and thus ‘powerful’. A negative thought ‘destroys’ which reduces power. Logical, right? Find out where you would rather keep your mind.
- Begin each day like it was on purpose: make positive choices in your attitude and how you interact with others.
- If you can’t be happy from within, and be satisfied with what you have or who you are, then you will never be truly happy with anyone else.
- Do not spend your money only for necessities. Money is only a tool used to acquire the things you need or want in life. Do not love the tool or become a slave to it. Occasionally you should treat yourself and others to something special to enjoy the fruits of your labors.
- Remember that actions have consequences; even how we think can have consequences.
- Consider how any advice applies to YOU… or the actions that follow are not yours. Take all advice (especially this page) with a ‘grain of salt’.
- How to Come to Terms With Feeling Ugly
- How to Be Thankful
- How to Let Someone Go
- How to Build Self Confidence
- How to Be Happy and Love Yourself Even when Everyone Puts You Down
- How to Bring out the Happiest You
- How to Overcome Sadness
- How to Be Unique
- How to Be Happy Being Yourself
- How to Get Through It All
- How to Realize Your True Potential
- How to Be Humble
- How to Get Closure
- How to Embrace Your Inner Child
- How to Be Kind
- How to Make Someone Happy
- How to Think for Yourself
- How to Clap Your Hands
Sources and Citations
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