How to be happy? Do you put being happy at the top of the list of things they want to achieve in life? Maybe you don’t directly. Instead you may put other things at the top. If you look at your ambitions, you will see that they are often there because you believe that they will ultimately make you happy.
Psychology Today says:
“Happiness is an electrifying and elusive state. Philosophers, theologians, psychologists, and even economists have long sought to define it. And since the 1990s, a whole branch of psychology—positive psychology—has been dedicated to pinning it down. More than simply positive mood, happiness is a state of well-being that encompasses living a good life, one with a sense of meaning and deep contentment.”
Sadly research suggests that most of us aren’t happy most of the time. So, here are some simple suggestions for how you can be happier in life:
1. Taking Delight In Small Things
You almost certainly have some small things that are guaranteed to make you happy. What that is may be peculiar to you, but here are some possibilities:
- A tidy desk drawer
- A row of newly cleaned makeup brushes
- The colour purple
- The downy hair on your child’s arm
- Chopping onions finely
Many people belittle themselves for getting immense satisfaction from small things. You hear people say things like:
“I know it’s sad but I get such a lot of satisfaction from …” .
The usual implication is that it’s not a good thing to get satisfaction from small things. It shows a slightly shameful side to your character. Maybe it means you’re shallow and not ambitious. But think about this again. Isn’t it better to have small things that can give you a sense of happiness and satisfaction, rather than insisting on the big things? Focusing on achieving happiness in small things, doesn’t mean you can’t achieve the big and dramatic things too. Having small go-to things that can make you happy is one of the keys to a happier life.
2. Have Lots Of Different Ways You Can Succeed And Feel Good About Yourself
As well as having small things that make you happy, make sure you have lots of ways you can succeed and feel good about yourself. This is particularly important if you are involved in some long-term project, such as losing weight, getting fit or achieving a high ranking within your organisation. It’s easy to set these things as a single goal that you achieve or don’t achieve. If you have multiple goals (steps on the way), you can feel you’re achieving something most of the time. Then you feel good about yourself and want to try even harder. So, for example, if you’re big goal is to get fitter have lots of different takes on it, e.g.
- Going to the gym 3 times this week
- Achieving a 90% heart rate on at least one exercise session this week
- Enjoying drinking water
You probably need about 6 different goals to keep you motivated and involved. Try to achieve them all, but when you don’t, don’t feel down but concentrate on the ones that you are achieving.
Have these short term goals for lots of different aspects of your life.
If you don’t like the word ‘goal’ and find it a turn-off, rephrase it. How about satisfaction points or happiness highs?
3. Make Unhappiness Harder To Achieve
Many people only need one thing to go wrong in order to be unhappy and need everything to be right in order to be happy. This makes happiness almost unachievable.
It’s interesting that we have a lot more negative words for emotions in the English language than positive words.
When things go wrong, remind yourself about all the things that are right in your life. They are still there – focus is what counts. Also think about what having the problem means:
Too much housework? You could be living in a small one-room shack or on the street without much/any housework to do.
Queuing at the supermarket? Look at your groceries – would you prefer not to have money to buy food?
Sat in a traffic queue? You have a car.
Sometimes catastrophic events do happen and then unhappiness is where you need to be. But often unhappiness is self-indulgent, representing a belief that everything should be good and easy for us. Remember what Friedrich Nietzsche said:
“That which does not kill us makes us stronger. “
4. Happiness Help
If you still find happiness difficult, you may need some help.
Many therapists – counselors, hypnotherapists, kinesiologists, etc. – can help you deal with stuff in your past or in your present that is stopping you being happy.
Nutritional supplements such as good quality B vitamin complex or magnesium may be what you need to reduce anxiety and lift your mood.
If you suffer from premenstrual syndrome and find it difficult to be happy at that time, try nutritional and herbal supplements to help lighten your mood.
Flower remedies work well for many people. If you have a child who finds it difficult to be happy, try the Indigo remedy Happy.
Mindfulness helps many people. Read my blog post about mindfulness.
Exercise can lift your mood. It can be hard to get out and do it when you’re feeling low.
Jasper Smits, director of the Anxiety Research and Treatment Program at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, USA reviewed research and wrote:
“A bad mood is no longer a barrier to exercise; it is the very reason to exercise.”
Don’t wait to be happy. Do it now.