Tired of waiting for happiness to find you? Stop waiting and start building your happiness with these tips.
Do you know how to be happy? Or are you waiting for happiness to find you? Despite what fairy tales describe, happiness does not appear by magic. It’s not even something that happens to you. It’s something you can cultivate. So what are you waiting for? Here are some ingredients to bring together for the recipe for happiness.
How to be happy: What science tells us
Only a small percentage of the variations in people’s reports of happiness can be explained by differences in their circumstances. It seems that most of what determines happiness is down to personality. More importantly: thoughts and behaviors that can be changed. So yes, you can learn to be happy, or at least happier.
You may think, like many people, that happiness comes from being born rich or beautiful or living a stress-free life. But the reality is that people who have wealth, beauty, or less stress are no happier on average than those who don’t have those things.
People who are happy seem to know intuitively that their happiness is the sum of their life choices. And that their life is built on the following pillars:
Spend time with family and friends
Appreciate what they have
Maintain an optimistic outlook
Have a sense of purpose
Living in the moment
How to be happy: Practice, practice, practice
If you’re looking for happiness, the good news is that your choices, thoughts, and actions can influence your level of happiness. It’s not as easy as flipping a switch, but you can increase your level of happiness. Here’s how to put yourself on the path to creating a happier world.
Invest in relationships
Surround yourself with happy people. Being around happy people makes you feel good. And by being happy yourself, you give something back to those around you. If you have friends and family who support you in difficult times and celebrate with you in good times, take the time to nurture those relationships. Act like you have an emotional bank account. Fill it with kind words and actions. Be careful and courteous in your criticisms. Let people know that you appreciate what they do for you or even that you are happy to have them in your life.
Express your gratitude
Gratitude is more than saying thank you. It’s a feeling of wonder, appreciation and, yes, gratitude for life. It’s easy to go through life without acknowledging your good fortune. Often it takes a serious illness or other tragic event for people to appreciate the good things in their lives. Don’t wait for such a thing to happen to you. Commit to practicing gratitude. Every day, identify at least one thing that enriches your life. When you find yourself faced with an ungrateful thought, try to substitute a grateful thought for it. For example, replace “My sister forgot my birthday” with “My sister has always been there for me in difficult times.”
Think about what you are grateful for before you go to sleep and when you wake up in the morning.
Make a habit of seeing the positive side of things. Don’t get too optimistic, after all, bad things can happen. It would be foolish to pretend otherwise. But you should not let the negative aspects influence your outlook on life. Remember that what is good about you is almost always more than what is bad. If you are not an optimistic person by nature, it may take time for you to change your pessimistic ideas. Start by acknowledging negative thoughts as you have them.
Then, take a step back and ask yourself these key questions:
Is the situation really as bad as I think?
Is there another way to look at the situation?
What can I learn from this experience that I can use in the future?
find your purpose
People who strive to achieve a goal or fulfill a mission; whether it’s growing a garden, caring for children, or honoring one’s spirituality, are happier than those without such aspirations.
Having a purpose gives meaning to life, builds self-esteem and brings people together. The goal you set for yourself is not as important as whether the process of working to achieve it is meaningful to you. Try to align your daily activities with the meaning and long-term purpose of your life. Studies suggest that relationships provide the strongest meaning and purpose to your life. So cultivate meaningful relationships.
Are you engaged in something you love? If not, ask yourself these questions to learn how to find your purpose:
What excites me and gives me energy?
What accomplishments am I most proud of?
How do I want others to remember me?
Living in the moment
Don’t put off the joy for a day when your life is less busy or less stressful. That day may never come. Instead, look for opportunities to savor the small pleasures of everyday life. Focus on the positives of the present moment, instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
Spending time with supportive friends or family members, cultivating a grateful attitude and an optimistic outlook, focusing on your goal, and living in the present can help you take steps toward happiness. Start working toward your goal of being a happier person today, and find ways to include these strategies every day.