Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 43 seconds
First a disclaimer.... I don't claim to have the secrets to happiness, no one does. I just know what helps me... and what helps "us" is all that matters, isn't it?
What makes you happy? Seriously, what puts a smile on your face? Different people will give different answers, that's the beauty of life, everyone is different. Anyone who reads any of my blogs knows I am a big advocate of positive psychology. This emerging field is bursting with new findings that suggest your actions can have a significant effect on your happiness and satisfaction with life. Here are some proven strategies I have found for getting happy.... and trust me I do my research...
1. Avoid comparing yourself to others. This will make you miserable VERY quickly. There is always someone better than you in some capacity, whether it be intelligence, physical appearance , wealth or a myriad of other things you can compare yourself to... if you want to live a cold existence where noone wants to be around you, then make it a habit to compare the cards you were dealt with every one elses'... Life is not fair, it's not fair for anyone... Make the most of the hand you were dealt and choose to be happy. I have personally dealt with this for a long time... I find myself getting trapped in this way of thinking... break free and appreciate who YOU are as an individual. Cliche as it may seem, there is only one you... and forever more there will be only one you.
2. Put Material Possessions Low on the List. First a footnote, I am not begrudging anyone of having nice things for yourself or family... just don't make it a priority. Appreciate what you have... The satisfaction of having the new furniture, clothes and other items has a short half life. It is very fleeting.. find happiness in other areas of your life, you don't have to buy "stuff" to make you happy. Again, this has nothing to do with making goals for yourself or liking nice things... just don't rank it higher on your list than say, saving money for a house or having an emergency fund - which will provide you and your children much more stability in the future... not to mention for generations afterwards. I have been all about generational wealth lately, but that's for another time... Suffice it to say, I am not saying don't be concerned about money, quite the contrary, just don't depend on the fleeting moment of buying "stuff" to ensure your happiness.
3. Savor Your Day . Again cliche, but stop to smell the roses... it REALLY does help. Think of all the good things and let go of the negative. If you allow positive energy into your life, it will manifest itself by giving you more positive energy and experiences. If you constantly worry about the "bad" in life, you are only calling more of that into your existence. Stop and smell the roses, discover all the beauty the world has to offer.
4. Focus on Positive Relationships - Make Friends and Treasure Family. We all need close relationships, more than just acquaintances and people who don't really care. Allow yourself to be friendly with someone, smile every once in awhile... don't assume that everything is bad or wrong... assume it's good and right.... assume people are all good just for one day.. Be careful, don't put yourself in harms way... but assume that people are good... try it, see what happens. You will discover that good people will be attracted to you... and you'll repel the negative ones.. it really does work. Be aware of the energy you are putting out in the world... is it a positive energy, or is it a negative?
5. SMILE EVEN IF YOU DON'T FEEL LIKE IT - Happy people generally seek out other happy people, opportunities and success. They see the future with optimism and when rewinding the past they savor the high points. Even if you never were in the habit of seeing the glass as half full, with practice it can be second nature.
6. Keep a Gratitude Journal - Write down all the things you are thankful for... you'll quickly discover that life may not be as bad as you thought... search hard if necessary for the good.. seek and you shall find.
7. Give it all away - No, not literally, but make giving and altruism part of your life; it will enable you to experience a "helper's high" as I've heard it called.. It doesn't have to be money either, listen to a friend, celebrate their successes, make it about them, forgive those who have wronged you... all of this, believe it or not will contribute to your happiness level. Researchers have found that those who spend money on others instead of themselves reported a greater level of happiness... try it for once... see how it works for you. As most know, I think a lot of Suzie Orman, below is a video I always liked of her speaking on "??? Generosity, sage advice about giving"
8. If you don't have anything nice to say don't say it.... gossip and speaking badly of others will only allow negativity to seep into your existence... Don't participate in it and if you speak of someone (there are exceptions of course, another footnote) focus on their positive aspects when communicating with others.
I don't claim to have the handle on happiness, I too get depressed and have to remember the above... it's much easier said than done, I realize this... but when you fall, just get back up and try again... it's all part of being human.