Who doesn’t want to be happy? Being happy, however, takes some effort. While some may be naturally happier than others, you can make a difference in your own happiness, even if you are genetically predisposed to be unhappy! Studies have shown that about 50% of your happiness can be controlled by your attitude and your actions, so take control and make your life more like what you want it to be!
Most people begin to consider whether or not they are happy sometime during their 40s. This is the ideal time for you to make some changes and take control of your happiness. Here are some great suggestions:
1. Develop strong friendships.
Those who have a large number of good friendships (not just social media contacts or colleagues) report feeling happier. Take steps to make new friends, even though it might seem challenging. Join a club, take up a hobby, go to the gym, join a church, there are literally dozens of ways to do it! You will live longer and feel happier when you have strong social connections.
2. Be thankful.
Those who are truly thankful, and express it to the significant people in their life, report greater levels of happiness. Consider taking a few moments each day, perhaps before going to bed, and writing down something (or several things) that you are thankful for at that moment. After a few weeks of this habit, you will find that you are feeling happier than before, and you have a wonderful list of things to be thankful for. This is a process that forces you to be thankful for what you do have, and not what you are lacking.
3. Develop and pursue your goals.
When you actively pursue your goals, you are moving forward in your life, and this is more likely to help you feel happier and more fulfilled. If your goal is big, then break it down into smaller steps so that you can see the progress you are making along the way. Always use your goals as a measurement of your progress and how far you have come, rather than how far you are from where you want to be.
4. Do what you are really good at, as often as possible.
When you are making the time to do what you are good at, and doing it often, you will feel more successful and happier. You may not be able to pursue this activity as a career, but even those who pursue what they love as a hobby find greater levels of happiness and fulfillment than those who are merely working for a paycheck.
5. Be unselfish.
Those who choose to donate time, money or other support to charities or even to others in general, are happier. It feels genuinely good to help others, so take advantage of this whenever possible. Not only does this help you feel good, it can be a way to “pay it forward,” because it makes it more likely that others will step up when you need help with something.
6. Worry less about your “stuff.”
Sure, money can buy you plenty of things, but these things won’t necessarily make you happy. Stuff, in general, won’t make your life better. Focus on the more important things, and make sure that when you do buy stuff it is for the right reasons. Having new things isn’t always a good reason. Consider spending your money to have memory-building and relationship building experiences.
7. Lead the life you dream of.
When you are true to yourself and choose to live your life along a path that leads to happiness, you will have far more control over your own happiness. Make clear choices, communicate your wants and needs to those who care about you, and take the time to be present in the moment and enjoy things. Connect with family, friends and loved ones regularly and actively practice being happy!
8. Embrace change.
Instead of fearing change, view it as a new opportunity, one that can potentially lead to greater happiness. Every door that opens is a new opportunity for you to be happy!
When you realize that so much of your happiness is within your control, you will find that you can feel better, live longer and have a fuller, more prosperous and more fulfilling life.