How To Achieve Happiness (It’s Easier Than You Think)
Want to be happy most of the time? It’s easier than you think because you can do many things on your own that significantly increase your chances of achieving happiness.
What is happiness?
“The term happiness is used in the context of mental or emotional states, including positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.” — Wikipedia
What is happiness in life?
If you feel that life is fulfilling and satisfying your needs, you probably feel happy. If you believe that your life is just as it should be, and thus you are contented, you probably feel happy. You probably have reached the state of perfect happiness if all of your needs have been satisfied.
What are some ways to achieve happiness?
Here are some good ways to achieve happiness:
* Your own happiness should be a top priority.
In your life priorities, be sure your own happiness is right up there at the top. You will always have other priorities to attend to, of course, but if you take care of all those at the expense of yourself, you will not be happy.
* Hang around people who make you happy.
We’ve all done it. We’ve found ourselves hanging people who are negative influences on us. And if we’re smart, we recognize the bad effect their behavior and attitudes are having on us and stop associating with them. Life can be hard enough without being around people who do nothing but depress you. So if someone is a “Debbie Downer” or a “Wally Whiner” most of the time, you should just ditch them and move on to someone who’s much more upbeat and makes you happier.
* Since it’s your life, you should take responsibility for it.
It’s easy to blame other people and other things for you not being happy. But that’s counterproductive. Playing the blame game and shifting the fault to others is not going to make you happier; in fact, it’ll have the opposite effect. The right thing you should do is to take full responsibility for your happiness and do whatever is needed to make you happy.
* Be yourself, not someone else.
In today’s society, we have lots of celebrities who appear on the surface to live perfect lives and thus are worth emulating. But if you pull the curtain back, you’ll see that all of these people have their own problems to deal with that cause them unhappiness from time to time. Your best course of action is to rely only on yourself for happiness. You are the master of your own fate and thus your happiness.
* Make your own happiness.
Think carefully about those things that are causing you to be unhappy. Then make a determined effort to address each one by taking positive remedial actions. You will find that most things are quite fixable if you sort out what’s wrong and then create a plan to resolve the problem. Don’t just throw up your hands and say “woe is me”; do something about what’s making you unhappy!
* Look for the silver lining.
We should all look for the silver lining when bad things happen to us. But in terms of trying to turn unhappiness into happiness, looking for silver linings is precisely what you should do. If you lose your job, you are not happy about it, of course. However, you will eventually get another job, and there’s a decent chance it will pay more than the one you had, and possibly be more fulfilling. Silver linings are almost always there if you take a little time to look for them.
“Sometimes life events break your heart. Even as you grieve, allow light to seep through the cracks, uplift, and illuminate healing. Baby turtles emerge from the cracking of shells; new life can burst forth. Clear away all broken belongings as a metaphorical pathway fresh, loving experiences in uncharted waters.” — Laura Staley
* Be kind to people.
Although this one should be a no-brainer, it’s incredible how many people forget that if you are kind to people, they are likely to be kind to you. Kindness begets kindness, and kindness leads to happiness. So be kind to people whenever the occasion presents itself. You’ll be happy you did.
* Be open with others.
Closing yourself off to others is a prescription for unhappiness. In these days of widespread, easily-accessible social media, you can stay in touch with friends and family and share what’s going on in your lives. Just be sure to accentuate the positive in these interactions.
* Don’t hang on to the past; just let it go.
There’s not a thing in the world you can do about what’s happened in the past other than to reflect on it and learn some lessons. Dwelling on the past, especially any painful events, will only ensure that you relive that pain over and over instead of putting it behind you. Of course, if there’s a happy memory you want to revisit from time to time, that’s okay. But what’s better is to focus on creating the best present and future you can that’s filled with happiness.
* Take some chances.
If you find that you’ve fallen into a rut in your life and are doing the same boring things over and over, you’re likely not happy about this situation. So do something about it! Look around you and find some new things to experience. Take a dance class. Participate in a local play. Go skydiving. Volunteer to help people. Just do something different that requires you to take some chances and gets you out of your comfort zone.
* Be mindful by living in the moment.
We’ve already discussed the perils of living too much in the past. And while it’s important to plan prudently for the future, that’s not the place in which you spend time every day. It’s the present, the here and now. To make the most of the present and what it offers you toward being happy, you need to practice being mindful. So, what is mindfulness?
The Oxford dictionary defines mindfulness as:
1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something; “their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
2. a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique
You’ll almost certainly be happier if you pay attention to each moment of each day and be aware of what’s happening around you and to you.
* Don’t worry about things you can’t control; focus on those things you can control.
There are a lot of things in life you can’t control at all, but when they occur, you get unhappy. That’s just not a rational reaction. Better to acknowledge those things we can’t control and to focus on those things we can control. For example, there may be a politician who makes you unhappy with the things he does and says, but the only way you can do something about is to vote in the next election and try to get that person out of office. You can control whether you vote or not. If voting for or against someone makes you happy, then do it!
* Tackle your problems head-on to make a positive change.
Many people know what’s making them unhappy, but don’t get off the couch and do something that causes a positive change. It’s all about tackling problems head-on and doing everything you can to resolve them. Just the act of doing something, anything, will make you feel better. And as you see progress made, your level of happiness will go up.
* Always appreciate what you have.
When Thanksgiving rolls around each year, those of us who celebrate that holiday try to make a point of giving thanks to all the good things in life we have. While that’s nice, we’d be better off to take a few moments each day and count our blessings. If you do this, you will quickly find out that there are far more things to be thankful for than the other way around. Following this daily ritual is sure to increase your happiness.
* Be sure to love everyone around you.
Love is a beautiful word. But it’s just a word if you don’t do your best to demonstrate your love to all those around you. How can you show your love? There are many ways: by kind words, by giving a helping hand, by any warm and thoughtful gesture you make toward someone, etc. There are so many ways to display love. And love begets love. The more love you give out, the more you’ll get back from others in return that results in happiness all around.
“In my life I’ve learned that true happiness comes from giving. Helping others along the way makes you evaluate who you are. I think that love is what we’re all searching for. I haven’t come across anyone who didn’t become a better person through love.” — Marla Gibbs
If you want to be happy in life, take charge of your own destiny. If it’s something you can control on your own, then you should get rid of or correct anything that’s causing you unhappiness. Treat happiness like a beautiful garden and cultivate it as much as possible.
Let happiness rule your life.
Lexico powered by Oxford Dictionary, Psychologies, Forbes, Action For Happiness, The Happiness Lab, The Happiness Research Institute, Very Well Mind, edX, Project Happiness, Harvard Health, GoodTherapy, Time, Healthline, The How of Happiness, WebMD, LiveScience, The Pursuit of Happiness
Thanks for reading.