Why You Should Be Happier
I am not so pretentious to tell you that I know how to be totally happy. Who does? If you do then I am sure that you are doing many of the things that I will champion in this article. I am however, experienced enough to know that if you try to explain to someone else how to do something or achieve something, your own mastery of the subject increases and you become better at whatever you are writing about. In this case it is how to be happy. I think that being generally happier about things in your life is a choice, and if you look at things and truly aren’t happy about the way they are going, then you need to make a few simple choices and turn things around. Life is hard enough without making the journey the most miserable you possibly can. My greatest hope is to improve my own outlook and to be an example of how anyone can be happier in their life.
How to See The Good In Your Life
There is the old comparison of the pessimist and the optimist, is the glass half empty or is it half full? This is how you can start by evaluating where you are standing mentally in your life. If your thoughts are constantly about what is missing, what you don’t have, or what you need to aquire to be happy, then you, my friend are a pessimist. And I can pretty much guarantee that if you honestly ask yourself the question, am I happy? The answer would be no. How can you be happy when you are constantly looking at the things that you don’t have, or are lacking. I think one of the simplest steps towards happiness is simply to recognize and appreciate any good thing you have in your life, and doing it clearly. Write it down at the very least, and talk about it if you have the courage to. I have been down, and walked on the pessimist’s side of the street before, and I know that from my own experience that the negative only leads to more negative and you can NOT be happy if you are thinking about how much life sucks. So make the simple choice to think positively about what is
good in your life. Maybe it’s your job, that gives you enough money to support yourself and your family, maybe it’s the loved ones in your life who think you are awesome, no matter what. Maybe it is the cup of coffee that you have every morning that gets your day off to a great start. Perhaps it’s the fifteen minutes of silent contemplation you get on your ride to and from work every day that allows you to stay organized and be more productive. No matter who you are there are always things that you can think about that are good, and when you start to do this you will find that just like negative thoughts lead to more negative emotions, experiences and circumstances, a look toward more positive things will lead to many more positive emotions, experiences and circumstances occurring in your life. It all starts with a simple list of things that are good in your life and a sincere appreciation for them and you will start turning things from the negative thoughts of being unhappy to the positive thoughts that can’t help but make you happy.
Do Something Nice Just because you can….
It is not a difficult concept to understand that people like it when others do something nice for them. It is even more appreciated when it comes from an unexpected source or person. It is less understood that by doing something nice for someone else will make you feel as good about yourself as the other person will feel. This is a tricky thing, because it all comes down to intent. When you do something for the express purpose of making someone else feel better, there is an almost automatic rise in your own self-esteem and the way that you feel about yourself. It is unstoppable and undeniable. This feeling inside you is happiness, because as people, we all want to be more accepted and appreciated and if you can comfort or help another to feel good about themselves or to experience joy, you have assumed the role of being more accepted and appreciated, even if the act you undertook was totally anonymous. As amazing as this sounds you will become happier by making someone else happier. There is no way around it and no debating this point. Simply do something nice for someone else, just because you can and you will be happier.
Smile more often and Mean It!
Another simple way to be happier is simply to smile more often. You can fake it at first, if you are so pessimistic and angry that you don’t have an authentic smile in you. There seems to be a physiological response though inside us that if we put on a smile, it is only natural that our entire demeanor both inside and outside will try to match that happy look. If you don’t believe me, try it. Really focus on smiling more, every day, even when there is nobody around. You will not be able to stop yourself from thinking of things that have made you smile in the past or that make you smile today, or would make you smile and feel happy tomorrow. You won’t be able to stop it. One of the things that can stop this from working is by choosing not to smile or try smiling to be happier because you are that pessimist, who thinks that everything is “stupid”, “dumb”, or “foolish”. If that is the attitude you are choosing to live with then you will definitely be just as happy as you are choosing to be. The good news is that no matter if it’s tomorrow, ten years, twenty years or fifty years from now, you will be able to make changes in your attitude that will result in you becoming happier about living life and who you are. It is as simple as learning to smile more and really meaning it!
Find Happy People and Do What They Do
Birds of a feather, flock together. It is an old saying but in most cases it is true. If you are intent on being, an unhappy, negative and generally miserable person, you are going to seek out people and invest time in people who are going to promote that point of view for you as well. You will find “friends” who are negative about everything in their life and will get confirmation that they are right about how crappy the world is from you. These people will avoid relationships with happy people because, they will have to confront whatever it is that is making them so damn miserable to maintain the relationship. It is much easier for them to attack the happier, healthier person and try to minimize them as a person. Usually by saying something negative about them behind their back. If you want to be happy, then getting rid of this behavior obviously has to happen. Here’s how.
You should find the positive people in your life and look to attach yourself to them. You will start to see how they look at life and more importantly how they think about life. These thought patterns are what you are looking to emulate, because as you think, so you are. When you have relationships with people who don’t think life sucks and everyone is out to screw them, you will find that you are feeling happier. I can clearly picture relationships I have had that were totally negative and made it easy to embrace negative thoughts about everything and everybody. If you have ever worked in a place where this mentality is dominant, then you can understand how difficult it can be to be happy around that black cloud of misery, “this sucks”, “the boss is mean”, “they are trying to waste my time”. Compare that to the work atmosphere that is infused with a positive energy, that makes what you are doing seem to count and that you are a important part of that process, you won’t be able to stop loving your job and doing it to the best of your ability. In most work environments you will have the opportunity to experience either kind of person, be positive and try to be happy, and like a moth to a flame, people who are looking for that attitude will be drawn to you. Don’t allow the negative into your life, it is all up to your choices.
Let Go Of Bad Experiences and Anger Towards Others
One of the more helpful things that I have learned is that what has happened in the past has as much affect on your life today as you let it have. Think about that for a moment. We all have experiences in our past that have not been good to experience. We have all made bad decisions, we have all made mistakes, we have all done things that were wrong. That is life , that is the way of it. However, how we choose to live with these decisions, mistakes or wrong things is totally up to us as people and directly lead to the amount of happiness you can experience in your life. I read a book about letting go and it gave the advice that when you think of a person or a situation and you get an instant kind of burning feeling inside, there is something that you haven’t let go. Perhaps an experience you had from circumstances in your childhood, or it could be a person who you feel has done something that has wronged you. For me, there were both people and events that I was holding bad feelings against because I felt that they had treated me unfairly and weren’t the people I thought they were. I think I was holding on to the anger, hoping for some sort of pay back and silently wishing that bad things would happen to them, so that they could feel as badly as I did. When I started to release these feelings, I realized that it was me that had the problem and not them. I really started to look at things from the point of view of other people and by letting go of the anger, I found peace, and even love. It is nearly impossible to be unhappy when you look at people this way.
The process of letting go of bad experiences is pretty simple but also difficult to do. You think of the situation that brings up the negative emotions in you, ask yourself, can I let this go? Then answer yourself honestly. If the answer is yes you will feel the difference almost immediately, all of the negative will leave. If honestly the answer is no you will still feel better for dealing with it, all you have to do to release it is to keep asking yourself, for me eventually anything that had a negative effect on me I could let go. This process is more difficult than it sounds because as people we sometimes have allowed negative experiences to define our lives. If not for the long term, for the short term. Letting go of these events and the people surrounding them can be a scary proposition. But scarier still is the prospect of carrying the anger,guilt, shame, fear, etc. around with you and being miserable the rest of your life. Practice letting go, release the negative and you will be much happier.