Our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate. So practice happy thinking every day. Cultivate the merry heart, develop the happiness habit, and life will become a continual feast. Norman Vincent Peale
Happiness is not for the lazy – it’s something that needs to be practiced and worked towards every day. When admiring someone that always appears happy and confident in your life, it’s suggested you examine their habits and consider adopting some of these for yourself in order to expand on your own happiness. By adopting the habits of happy people around us, we leave ourselves flexible to change and open to growing.
Looking online for a list of happy people habits returns countless lists that each numbers the principals. This is where quality not quantity is important. You may also find webinars and courses just teaching people the habits of happy people. Once reading the list, I encourage people to do their own research and adopt the best principles for them, individually.
* Make the most of each day and appreciate life – avoid taking things for granted. Be thankful for the small things and focus on the beauty in everything.
* Select your friends wisely – surround yourself with happy, positive and encouraging people who share your values and goals.
* Try to brighten the day of everyone you come into contact with. Accept easily. Respect people for who they are, touch them with kindness, help where you are able, avoid wanting to change anyone – just because you do something differently, doesn’t mean your way is correct.
* Be inquisitive and open to learning new things. Try new and daring adventures or activities.
* View problems or obstacles as challenges that provide opportunities to create positive change. Trust your instincts.
* Do what you love. Choose a career you’re passionate about. Always make time to enjoy your hobbies and pursue special interests.
* Live in the present. Be mindful of the things in your life, your actions and your words. You can’t change the past or control the future. By living in the now you can make conscious decisions that will help you in the future and make your present much happier. The past can’t hurt you anymore unless you allow it. “Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure,” Oprah Winfrey.
* Be helpful. Brian Tracy said: “Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking: What’s in it for me?” When you help others, you feel a purpose, being intentionally unhelpful is negative and breeds negativity.
* Laugh readily. Learn to laugh at yourself. Don’t put people down or laugh at the expense of others.
* Forgive easily. Forgive yourself for your mistakes, take ownership and learn from it and forgive others when they wrong you or they will take energy that could otherwise be used in a positive way.
* Develop an attitude of gratitude. Say “thank you” for even small things people do for you. Take time to let people know how grateful you are to have them in your life.
* Love unconditionally. Let the people that matter in your life know you love them – even in times of conflict. Make time to spend with your family and friends. Avoid breaking commitments or promises. Be supportive where you can. Always act with love.
* Be honest. Every action and decision you make should be based on honesty. Most importantly, always be true to yourself. Deception will burn positive energy unnecessarily.
* Meditate. Meditation will increase energy and you will function at a higher level. There are several types of meditation – e.g. visualisation, hypnosis, yoga, Pilates, affirmations etc. – pick the one that best suits you and meditate regularly.
* Live your life your way. Mind your own business and avoid gossiping about others. Try not to get overly concerned with what other people are doing or saying. Don’t judge. Have the freedom to always be yourself.
* Be optimistic. Everything happens for a reason – look for all the positives. Don’t give up. If you can’t find a positive in something – create it! Winners have the ability to manufacture their own optimism. Failure is an opportunity to grow and learn a new life lesson. People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times.
* Be persistent. Focus on what you want, learn the required skills, make a plan to succeed and take action. Have confidence in yourself – you will always be happiest while pursuing something of value.
* Dare to dream and dream BIG! Be creative and always push yourself forward. “Aim for the stars because when you aim for the stars, you will reach the moon. When you aim for the moon, you fall; rest in the clouds. When you aim for the clouds, you clench the tree tops. When you aim for the tree tops, you fall on your butt. Maintain high hopes and you will succeed,” Unknown. It’s better to aim high and miss, than to aim low and reach target!
* Be proactive. Determine how you can take control by creating the outcome you desire. Don’t worry about the future and forget about the past. Accept your limitations. George Bernard Shaw said: “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing”.
* Look after yourself. Your health includes mind and body. Get regular check ups, eat healthily, drink plenty of water, get plenty of rest and exercise regularly. Constantly challenge your mind and body. Albert Einstein said: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving”.
* Be yourself. It’s exactly as Dolly Parton said: “Find out who you are and do it on purpose”. Determine who you are, your likes and dislikes, and always be yourself. Have confidence in who you are – always expect the best and always do the best you can. Avoid self-doubt completely.
* Love yourself. Be your own best friend. Learn to enjoy your own company. Accept your flaws. Dr Seuss said it best: “Today you are You – that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You!” If you don’t like something about yourself, work hard towards changing it.
*Take responsibility. Lead by example. Be responsible for your life: your moods, attitude, thoughts, feelings, actions and words. Admit when you have made a mistake.
* Set goals. Make a plan to succeed and take action.
* Make a positive future for yourself. Focus on creating a future around your dreams.
* Clear out the clutter. Don’t live in a mess and don’t hold onto things of the past … unless they’re photographs, reminding you of happier times. The only things you need are: food, shelter, clothing, loved ones and a few personal items. Do you have too many people cluttering your Facebook? It may be time for a good clean up.
* Find your passion. What gets you excited? How often do you associate with that? Perhaps it’s time to spend more time with your passion. Be creative about how you’re going to work your passions into your day.
* Have fun! Go and see a comedy, have a picnic, read some jokes… Incorporate fun into your everyday life. Learn to control your stress, rather than letting it control you.
*Nurture your relationships. Studies show that superficial interaction like chatting to the postman can make you feel like you belong to a community, but intimate relationships are what keeps us going when times get tough. Don’t be afraid of reaching out when you need someone.
* Enjoy the simple pleasures. The best things in life are often free. Make it a point to bring pleasure into your life and really savour the delights that are abundant around you already. Watch a sunrise or a sunset. Sit in the sunshine for a while. Be grateful for nature.
* Be mindful of your perspective. Practise looking at situations from all perspectives before you act or react. Sometimes a new perspective is all we need to change a situation.
* Speak kindly to people. Don’t put people down – build them up. Concentrate on the good in everyone around you. Practice acts of kindness and selflessly help people around you – this releases serotonin, not only in yourself but also for anyone watching you.
* Live with purpose. Always dedicate some time to a cause – it may be directly helping others through volunteering – know your purpose. Join something you believe in.
* Let go of what other people think. Really happy people rarely let negative people and their attitudes affect them.
* Make friends. Happy people are always looking to make friends. They just wants someone new to laugh and be happy with. By default, happy people are friendly people.
* Reflect on the good things. Make time to positively reflect on your successes. It’s important to mindfully reflect on the good, while striving diligently to correct the bad. A continuous general awareness of your daily successes can have a noticeably positive affect on your overall emotional happiness.
* Exploit the resources you DO have. Use your resources well and consider this: Stevie Wonder couldn’t see, so he exploited his sense of hearing into a passion for music, and he now has twenty-five Grammy Awards to show for it.
* Create your own happy ending. The end of any experience can have a profound impact on the person’s overall perception of the experience as a whole. If the ending is happy, the experience creates happiness. Always tie loose ends, leave things on a good note and create happy endings in your life whenever possible.
* Focus on your strengths. Emotional happiness comes naturally to those who use their strengths to get things done. The state f completion always creates a sense of achievement.
* Avoid comparing yourself. Material blessings, good looks, social position or seemingly happy families do not make a happy person. A happy person typically compares himself to mentors and role models to improve their character. The majority of the time social comparison doesn’t stem from a healthy place, so if you feel called to compare yourself to something: compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself.
* Practice habits of happy people. Concentrate on the present, compare yourself only to saints, be grateful and remember that present hardships are temporary.
* Develop coping strategies. It helps to have healthy coping strategies that are pre-rehearsed, on-call and ready for you at any time. Positive coping mechanisms are the best, so brainstorming them for a rainy day will certainly come in handy.
There is no right or wrong principle to adopt – if the habits of a happy person were as easy as a one-size-fits-all solution, these pages on the Internet wouldn’t exist. If you enjoyed this blog, I recommend trying some of the fantastic activities outlined on the Be Happy 4 Life website: http://www.behappy4life.com/behappyprogram.html.
We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognising and appreciating what we do have. Frederick Keonig
On our quest for happiness, there will be times where you selfishly seek more. You may forget the people in your life, the things you have achieved and your original reasons for starting the journey, and start looking at how you can change to live a fuller and happier life. But what happens when you continually change until you are only content outside your comfort zone?
Everywhere you look it tells you to “change” for happiness or make the “changes” to be happier. But what if you live your life, continually changing and continually striving for happiness? Change can become a barrier if you are trying to escape or avoid something from the past. Rather than facing it, it can appear easier to run away and continue changing. Unfortunately, this can be addictive or become a pattern, which can lead to an unsettling and extremely isolated existence.
This is why it is important to be mindful of your thoughts and actions, appreciative of the things you have and accepting of things as they happen.
Selecting the right change for you
It’s critical to select changes that influence further positive changes. Change can be like a domino effect – pulling other changes along with it – so considering a single change carefully, before you make the change, is essential. So how can you guarantee that the change ahead is right for you?
- First consider why you are changing. Are you changing for the right reasons? You should only ever change for yourself and to ultimately benefit yourself. You need to want to change. Changing for someone else will reverse if the situation with that person changes.
- Weigh up the pros and cons of the change. Is it the right decision for you? Consider any implications (or further changes) it may bring and how this will affect you.
- How will the change affect you in the long term? Think about if the change is permanent or temporary? And if it is temporary, why is it necessary and how will it ultimately further you?
- Will the change affect other areas in your life? For example, moving away will affect career, family and friends. Are those areas in your life something that you want or need to change at the moment?
- Ask an honest friend who knows you. As social beings, we tend to ask friends and family for their opinion and seek guidance in our decisions, but it’s important to appreciate that they aren’t dealing with the consequences of whatever decision is ahead. (It is also important to accept this when we offer advice or guidance to those who are seeking our opinion on something.)
- Is the change in line with your values? Make sure the change will further you in some way, otherwise be happy with what you have.
Remember, while you can hope for happiness and adjust your sails so life drifts in that direction, you can never plan for it or be fully assured that it will come because of a change we make. Sometimes, the grass is not greener. If you change, will the important people in your life come with you on the journey or is this the point where you lose them? It’s important to accept that no one experiences happiness every single day, and with that in mind, are you ok with sitting with today?
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. Mahatma Gandhi
There’s no denying it – love makes us happy!
When someone is in love with something, they are drawn to it and want to be near that person or thing as often as possible. I am frequently asked what draws me to someone that I date. My only response is that it depends how that person makes me feel. Over time, I have learnt that it’s not about what the person does for me – they could have all the money in the world and buy me the most expensive presents, but I still won’t feel that connection. You would have heard the sayings: “Money doesn’t buy you happiness” and “Actions speak louder than words”. In fact, Irwin Federman says it: “People love others not for who they are, but for how they make them feel”.
With this in mind, never try to buy someone’s love. Unfortunately we don’t have control over whether someone loves us, so while it’s ok to put thought into buying someone a nice present, it’s not ok to buy someone something outrageous in the hope of getting love in return. This means, the best way to love someone this Valentine’s Day is not with a gift – it’s to SHOW them!
How to show someone you love them (it doesn’t have to be romantic!)
- Take them on a picnic or go camping together
- Give them a massage
- Dance with them
- Cook for them
- Kiss the palm of their hand
- Ask them how their day was, and listen
- Go star-gazing on a clear night
- Write them a card including how they make you feel
- Watch funny YouTube clips together
- Text to say you’re thinking of them
- Go to a theme park together
- Share your goals and ambitions in life
- Make one of their dreams come true
- Remember the things they tell you (especially any of their favourite things)
- Make a collage of your favourite times together
- Have a photo date – where you take your photo together in as many places as possible
- Go to the movies together.
If you don’t love yourself, nobody else will. Not only that – you won’t be good at loving anyone. Loving starts with the self. Dr. Wayne Dyer
Instead of finding someone for Valentine’s Day, why not focus on the things you love – it’s guaranteed to make you feel great! Avoid the mistake of taking the first person that comes along so you’re not alone on Valentine’s Day (which may lead you to feeling lonely, empty and unfulfilled – even when they’re in the room), by filling the void discovering the things you love. In doing this, you will meet people with similar interests and before you know it – you could have the man/woman of your dreams!
The easiest way to find out what you love (or what makes you happy) is to start a list of things that make you feel good. For example:
- Smelling perfume in a department store
- Taking my dog for a walk
- Setting and achieving goals
- Making people laugh
- Sitting in the sunshine
- Keeping a journal/blog
- Host a dinner party.
Once you have your list together, you could arrange to do some of the things you love on Valentine’s Day. It will make you feel great!
Another way to really discover yourself is to write out nine of your values on nine different sheets of paper. Then prioritise them in order and look at each one carefully. Ask yourself why you selected that value, why it’s so important to you and why you put it where you did.
You could also make a list of things that you love about being single. Think about all the things you can do with your freedom, that your now taken girlfriends can’t be doing. Write a list of all the things you love about being on your own.
The key is to keep yourself busy by trying to discover yourself and the things you love. Trust me – before you know it, it’ll be 15 February!