It’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? How can I find happiness?
Firstly Kelly and I agree that you don’t FIND happiness you CREATE it. You create it with what you think, what you say, what you feel and what you do.
Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Our top three tips to feeling happy are:
- Stay healthy – know your numbers. eg blood pressure, weight, fat %, even details such as your hormones, blood and vitamin levels. Have regular check-ups with the doc.
- Eat when hungry, not due to boredom, sadness or for comfort.
- Get exercise daily – move in way that you enjoy..
Here are some more strategies to creating happiness
Happiness Strategy # 1: Choose to be Happy
Make a conscious choice to boost your happiness.
In his book, The Conquest of Happiness, published in 1930, the philosopher Bertrand Russell said “Happiness is not, except in very rare cases, something that drops into the mouth, like a ripe fruit. … Happiness must be, for most men and women, an achievement rather than a gift of the gods, and in this achievement, effort, both inward and outward, must play a great part.”
Psychologists today would agree. In “The 9 Choices of Happy People” by authors Rick Foster and Greg Hicks in their book of the same name, Intention is first on the list.
“Intention is the active desire and commitment to be happy,” they write. “It’s the decision to consciously choose attitudes and behaviors that lead to happiness over unhappiness.”
You Can Choose to Be Happy says Tom G. Stevens:
“Choose to make happiness a top goal,” Stevens tells WebMD. “Choose to take advantage of opportunities to learn how to be happy. For example, reprogram your beliefs and values. Learn good self-management skills, good interpersonal skills, and good career-related skills. Choose to be in environments and around people that increase your probability of happiness. The persons who become the happiest and grow the most are those who also make truth and their own personal growth primary values.”
Once you’ve made the decision to be happier you can choose strategies for achieving happiness. Psychologists who study happiness tend to agree on ones like these.
Happiness Strategy #2: Attitude of Gratitude
In his book, Authentic Happiness, University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman encourages readers to perform a daily “gratitude exercise.” It involves listing a few things that make them grateful. This shifts people away from bitterness and despair, he says, and promotes happiness. When you are able to find the gratitude in the smallest things big shifts start to happen.
Try to find just 5 things everyday (no matter how small) to be grateful for and see how your life changes.
Happiness Strategy #3: Foster Forgiveness
According to a rapidly growing body of research, holding a grudge and nursing grievances can affect physical as well as mental health.
Not forgiving can lead to constant mulling over transgressions. This is a form of chronic stress, says Everett Worthington Jr, author of Five Steps to Forgiveness. “Rumination is the mental health bad boy,” Worthington tells WebMD. “It’s associated with almost everything bad in the mental health field — obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety — probably hives, too.”
One way to stop these kinds of feelings is to foster forgiveness. This reduces the power of bad events to create bitterness and resentment, say Michael McCullough and Robert Emmons, happiness researchers who edited The Psychology of Happiness.
How to forgive:
It’s not easy but Five Steps to Forgiveness offers a simple 5-step process, REACH:
- Recall the hurt.
- Empathize and try to understand the act from the perpetrator’s point of view.
- Altruistic by recalling a time in your life when you were forgiven.
- Commit to putting your forgiveness into words- either in a letter or in your journal.
- Hold on to the forgiveness. Don’t dwell on your anger, hurt, and desire for vengeance.
Happiness Strategy #4: Control Your Negativity
As Jon Haidt puts it, improve your mental hygiene.
In The Happiness Hypothesis, Haidt compares the mind to a man riding an elephant. The elephant represents the powerful thoughts and feelings — mostly unconscious — that drive your behavior. The man, although much weaker, can exert control over the elephant, just as you can exert control over negative thoughts and feelings. “The key is a commitment to doing the things necessary to retrain the elephant,” Haidt says. “And the evidence suggests there’s a lot you can do. It just takes work.”
For example, practice meditation, rhythmic breathing, yoga, or relaxation techniques to quell anxiety and promote serenity. You can learn to recognize and challenge thoughts you have about being inadequate and helpless. “If you learn techniques for identifying negative thoughts, then it’s easier to challenge them,” Haidt said. “Sometimes just reading David Burns’ book, Feeling Good, can have a positive effect.”
Happiness Strategy #5: Find Like-Minded People
There are few better antidotes to unhappiness than close friendships with people who care about you, says David G. Myers, author of The Pursuit of Happiness. One Australian study found that people over 70 who had the strongest network of friends lived much longer.
“Sadly, our increasingly individualistic society suffers from impoverished social connections, which some psychologists believe is a cause of today’s epidemic levels of depression,” Myers writes. “The social ties that bind also provide support in difficult times.”
Happiness Strategy #6: Engage in Meaningful Activities
People are seldom happier, says psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, than when they’re in the “flow.” This is a state in which your mind becomes thoroughly absorbed in a meaningful task that challenges your abilities. Yet, he has found that the most common leisure time activity — watching TV — produces some of the lowest levels of happiness.
To get more out of life, we need to put more into it, says Csikszentmihalyi. “Active leisure that helps a person grow does not come easily,” he writes in Finding Flow. “Each of the flow-producing activities requires an initial investment of attention before it begins to be enjoyable.”
So it turns out that happiness can be a matter of choice — not just luck. Some people are lucky enough to possess genes that foster happiness. However, certain thought patterns and interpersonal skills definitely help people become an “epicure of experience,” says David Lykken, whose name, in Norwegian, means “the happiness.”