I used to think happiness just happens and, with a little luck, I would have some. Then, life got real and I realized I need to take more of a leadership role in my own life. Rather than sit around taking whatever happiness found its way to me, I actively cultivate it by following this advice from other happy people.
Know What Makes You Happy
Think about the happiest moments of your life and write down what it is about those moments that made you happy. Get deep and consider relationships, loyalty, security, experiences, learning, or autonomy for your list. This isn’t a one and done exercise. You’ll have some common threads that stay true at all ages, but what makes you happy may also change over time. Do a happiness appraisal anytime you feel a need for a happiness boost. Once you have your happiness formula clearly defined, you can actively seek out activities that hit the mark.
Live in The Present
Avoid pinning your happiness on something you expect in the future by being in the here and now. If you’re a planner by nature, this might be harder for you. When you’re always preparing for what is coming next, you might miss what’s happing right now. Acknowledge what you are doing every day that makes you happy and revel in it. I mean fully relish each minute of any activity that makes you happy.
Spread It Around
Happiness is contagious and self-reinforcing. Sharing your happiness through a smile to a stranger, an exclamation to a friend, a hug to a spouse, or an attaboy/girl to a coworker will spread your happiness to others and bolster yours too. Surrounding yourself with happy people is known to improve your mental outlook and when you can positively impact others you get it right back.
See Every Side
Conflict is a big whammy for happiness and, unfortunately, we cannot always avoid it. The key is to address it head on and work through it. Although it can be tempting to hold on to resentment or bitterness as a means of retribution when someone has let you down, the only person it hurts is you. Let it go, forgive, and be happy. It’s the greatest revenge.
Achieve One Thing Every Day
For me, this sometimes means putting something on my to do list that I’ve already done, just so I can cross it off the list. We need to see progress and accomplishment in varying degrees for healthy self-esteem and a healthy self-esteem is a prerequisite for happiness. Pave your path to happiness by setting goals, big and small, and attaining them.
We all have it from time to time so get ready to deal with it. It’s all about your resilience. Some people are just born with an easy-going demeanor that helps them roll with the punches better than others. However, everyone can develop strong coping techniques to deal with disappointments and stress. The idea is to recognize the situation, understand the causes, and practice coping strategies to work through it faster. If you are experiencing depression, seek assistance from a mental health provider.
Happiness isn’t something I thought a lot about when I was young, but I now know it’s my job to define it, find it, delight in it, share it, and find my way back to it when life gets in the way.