Why do some people go through life with a constant smile on their face? They must have troubles, we all do, but somehow they manage to not just grin and bear it – they are actually sincerely happy even in the face of adversity.
As annoying as our perpetually perky friends or colleagues may be – always looking on the bright side while we are ready to curl up in fetal position and hide from the world – these people provide valuable lessons to those of us whose inner peace does not come quite as naturally.
Happiness is one of the most prized aspirations for most, but barring clinical depression or other mental health disorders, we usually do not prioritize happiness above money, work, time, family and other obligations. We may say we do, but our actions often speak otherwise.
If you are committed to creating more happiness in your life, take a moment to consider ways to develop a more positive outlook – which will help calm your mind and improve your overall health.
Be Here Now
Focusing on the present may be the most important habit of happy people. With the constant stressors of modern life, we tend to carry our worries around with us wherever we go. In some cases it’s impossible to detach from a serious emotional problem in our lives – but there is a big difference between the necessary emotional process of working through major issues and “sweating the small stuff.”
Thought is not action, and by over-thinking and worrying about things that may happen, try to focus on what you are actually doing in the present moment. There is no need to be a practicing Buddhist to learn the benefit of “mindfulness” – of being fully aware of and present in the moment. While washing dishes or cleaning, exercising, or driving around town on errands – pay attention to what you are doing.
Being “in the present” is especially important when you are spending time with other people. Focusing on conversations and quality time with loved ones and friends is a crucial way to be connected with others and enjoy your time together. Positive interpersonal relationships are one of the greatest sources of personal happiness.
Don’t Let Others Get You Down
Making positive, meaningful interactions a priority with those closest to you is necessary for happiness. But if there is a lot of negativity around specific relationships, don’t let yourself dragged down or sucked into the bad vibes.
The same goes for strangers who waltz into your life and disrupt your positive attitude – whether it comes in the shape of a cranky coworker or derogatory in-law. Other people’s thoughts and opinions are theirs – not yours. So if you are faced with harsh words or angry actions, don’t allow them to intrude on your inner happiness. Your self-worth must be based on your own thoughts and feelings – stop caring what other people have to say about you if it is coming from a negative, unsupportive place.
Know When to Say “NO”
In seeking happiness, a lot of us tend to become “people pleasers.” We want others to like us and will gladly say yes to any favor asked of us or reschedule our own plans to make it to an event that we really couldn’t care less about attending. Remember that you have to come first in these instances. Your time is just as valuable as everyone else’s, there is no need to overextend yourself doing things that you do not enjoy – or doing favors for someone you know won’t be returned.
Laugh it Off
Everyone is only human, and we all make mistakes. Learn to take yours with a grain of salt. Happy people are rarely seen stressing over an embarrassing moment in public or sneaky coffee stain they didn’t notice on their shirt until walking into an important appointment. Life can get quirky, there are always ups and downs – so it’s better to go with the flow and learn to laugh at yourself and let it go.
Gretchen Rubin, of The Happiness Project, encourages regular exercise to keep your spirits lifted: “Exercise is a KEY to happiness. Research shows that people who exercise are healthier, more energetic, think more clearly, sleep better, and have delayed onset of dementia. They get relief from anxiety and mild depression. They perform better at work.”
Health and happiness go hand in hand. Making regular exercise part of your daily routine will make you feel more up-beat. This doesn’t have to be a grueling work out at the gym or hour long run every day – going for a moderate walk in your neighbourhood or a nearby park will increase endorphins and lighten your mood.
Make Your Home Your Happy Place
Excess clutter around your house is likely to provoke a sense of anxiety, not calm, when you walk in the door after a long day – or to wake up to in the morning. Make the time to tidy up every night before going to bed and keep your house clean and organized to whatever level you feel comfortable with. Make your bedroom or any other room your own personal sanctuary – at least one space that makes you feel really happy to be in.
Be And Do Your Best
Happy people are less likely to be overly critical or judgmental – of themselves or others. They know when to lower their expectations rather than try to change other people’s shortcomings. They don’t beat themselves up with excessive guilt or compare themselves to others at every step. Just as you shouldn’t let others bring you down, don’t be too harsh on yourself either. Be yourself. Be happy with exactly who you are, what you do and what you have.
http://www.mindfulnessmeditationcentre.org/aboutMindfulness.php, http://www.happiness-project.com/, Image courtesy of hyena reality / FreeDigitalPhotos.net