I am a part of all that I have met and all I have met is a part of me.

Be Happy

I do not believe I am the first, nor will I be the last or only person in this world who believes that in life the best philosophy is be happy. I know it sounds simplistic to just say, be happy, but if you ever try it, say for a week, it is amazing how much better you feel about things. So go on, just for one week just be happy, laugh out loud, smile, giggle and just be happy, it is a very liberating experience.

Here are just a few tip on how to be happy, some will work for you, some won’t, but in truth you only need one and then you start from there.

Happiness Tips

Don’t start with profundities.
When I began my Happiness Project, I realized pretty quickly that, rather than jumping in with lengthy daily meditation or answering deep questions of self-identity, I should start with the basics, like going to sleep at a decent hour and not letting myself get too hungry. Science backs this up; these two factors have a big impact on happiness.

Box off your “worry” time

Some people find it difficult to stop worrying. Worry tends to intrude into their mind at all times, interfering with work or other activities. A useful way of dealing with too much worry intruding in one's mind is to set aside a "worry time". This can be, for example, half an hour just after work. At any other time, when a worrying issue comes to mind, acknowledge to yourself that you need to think it through, and note that you will do so during your "worry time".

At the appointed time, think the issue through and try to use one of the approaches below. Before then, give yourself permission to put it out of your mind and to get on with the task at hand.

Do let the sun go down on anger.
I had always scrupulously aired every irritation as soon as possible, to make sure I vented all bad feelings before bedtime. Studies show, however, that the notion of anger catharsis is poppycock. Expressing anger related to minor, fleeting annoyances just amplifies bad feelings, while not expressing anger often allows it to dissipate.

Can you solve the challenge?

Worrying partly functions as a problem solving process. It alerts us to the possibility of something bad happening, and motivates us to come up with solutions to avoid bad outcomes. However, worriers often find it difficult to stop worrying because they attempt to solve problems that are not immediately solvable. So, during your worry time, the first thing to ask yourself is whether your worry involves a solvable problem or not.

Fake it till you feel it.
Feelings follow actions. If I’m feeling low, I deliberately act cheery, and I find myself actually feeling happier. If I’m feeling angry at someone, I do something thoughtful for her and my feelings toward her soften. This strategy is uncannily effective.

Realize that anything worth doing is worth doing badly.
Challenge and novelty are key elements of happiness. The brain is stimulated by surprise, and successfully dealing with an unexpected situation gives a powerful sense of satisfaction. People who do new things — learn a game, travel to unfamiliar places — are happier than people who stick to familiar activities that they already do well. I often remind myself to “Enjoy the fun of failure” and tackle some daunting goal.

Don’t treat the blues with a “treat.”Often the things I choose as “treats” aren’t good for me. The pleasure lasts a minute, but then feelings of guilt and loss of control and other negative consequences deepen the lousiness of the day. While it’s easy to think, I’ll feel good after I have a few glasses of wine…a pint of ice cream…a cigarette…a new pair of jeans, it’s worth pausing to ask whether this will truly make things better.

Buy some happiness.
Our basic psychological needs include feeling loved, secure, and good at what we do and having a sense of control. Money doesn’t automatically fill these requirements, but it sure can help. I’ve learned to look for ways to spend money to stay in closer contact with my family and friends; to promote my health; to work more efficiently; to eliminate sources of irritation and marital conflict; to support important causes; and to have enlarging experiences. For example, when my sister got married, I splurged on a better digital camera. It was expensive, but it gave me a lot of happiness bang for the buck.

Set Goals: Make a plan for attaining goals that you believe will make you happy. Your mood will very likely increase as your pursue your goal because you will feel better about yourself for going after something you value.

Happy People: Surround yourself with happy people. It is easy to begin to think negatively when you are surrounded by people who think that way. Conversely, if you are around people who are happy their emotional state will be infectious.

Always solutions: When something goes wrong try to figure out a solution instead of wallowing in self pity. Truly happy people don’t allow set backs to affect their mood because they know that with a little thought they can turn the circumstances back to their favor.

Think things through: Spend a few minutes each day thinking about the things that make you happy. These few minutes will give you the opportunity to focus on the positive things in your life and will lead you to continued happiness.

Don’t insist on the best.
There are two types of decision makers. Satisficers (yes, satisficers) make a decision once their criteria are met. When they find the hotel or the pasta sauce that has the qualities they want, they’re satisfied. Maximizers want to make the best possible decision. Even if they see a bicycle or a backpack that meets their requirements, they can’t make a decision until they’ve examined every option. Satisficers tend to be happier than maximizers. Maximizers expend more time and energy reaching decisions, and they’re often anxious about their choices. Sometimes good enough is good enough.

Take time: It’s also important to take some time each day to do something nice for yourself. Whether you treat yourself to lunch, take a long, relaxing bath or simply spend a few extra minutes on your appearance you will be subconsciously putting yourself in a better mood.

Laugh out loud: Finding the humor in situations can also lead to happiness. While there are times that require you to be serious, when it is appropriate, find a way to make light of a situation that would otherwise make you unhappy.

Be healthy: Maintaining your health is another way to achieve happiness. Being overweight or not eating nutritious foods can have a negative effect on your mood. Additionally, exercise has been known to release endorphins that give you a feeling of happiness.

Exercise to boost energy: I knew, intellectually, that this worked, but how often have I told myself, “I’m just too tired to go to the gym”? Exercise is one of the most dependable mood-boosters. Even a 10-minute walk can brighten my outlook. Having trouble sticking to your exercise regimen?

Stop nagging.
I knew my nagging wasn’t working particularly well, but I figured that if I stopped, my husband would never do a thing around the house. Wrong. If anything, more work got done. Plus, I got a surprisingly big happiness boost from quitting nagging. I hadn’t realized how shrewish and angry I had felt as a result of speaking like that. I replaced nagging with the following persuasive tools: wordless hints (for example, leaving a new lightbulb on the counter); using just one word (saying “Milk!” instead of talking on and on); not insisting that something be done on my schedule; and, most effective of all, doing a task myself. Why did I get to set the assignments? I found it hard to give up nagging

Take action.
Some people assume happiness is mostly a matter of inborn temperament: You’re born an Eeyore or a Tigger, and that’s that. Although it’s true that genetics play a big role, about 40 percent of your happiness level is within your control. Taking time to reflect, and conscious steps to make your life happier, really does work.

Finally, it is important to understand that you deserve happiness. Those who believe that they are not worthy of happiness may subconsciously sabotage their efforts to achieve happiness. If necessary, tell yourself each day that you deserve to be happy and remind yourself what steps you will take to achieve the happiness you desire.

 

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© 2008 Paul Kavanagh. All rights reserved.