Sunday, April 26, 2009

Happiness How-To.

What’s Happiness by Absolut1

I’m no expert, so don’t expect world class advice. But I can tell you I’ve been studying the habits of happiness myself for the last several years. Some of my friends may tell you that I’m far from perfect at staying happy. A permanently high level of happiness is hard to achieve – but that’s not to say that it’s not worth working for.

Even though I try and sometimes fail, I still think that happiness is under-rated as a success factor in life. Many people brush it off as frivolous, a waste of time, or unreachable simply because there is not set way to accomplish it.

Just because the definition varies by person, doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth pursuing. Of all the skills and habits you’d like to acquire in your life, I’d say uncovering your happiness goals and finding out what actually makes you happy would be right at the top of the list.

Scientists have begun to study happiness seriously in the last 20 years and have discovered a wealth of information. Happiness is vastly wide-ranging topic and covers a variety of ideas and subject such as positive thinking, optimism, humor, goal-setting, gratitude, appreciation, stress relief,

Even if you worked on your happiness for the rest of your life – is that so bad? I certainly enjoy learning new skills, going on new adventures, and finding new interests. Happiness covers all those topics. Happiness is really simply a part of your journey of self-discovery. It’s about understanding yourself.

So here’s my 2 cents worth on some of the most important parts of happiness how-to:

  1. Lighten-up. We’re all too serious. We listen to news 24/7, most of which is bad, and wonder why we feel upset and angry. We like to complain, criticize and fault find. But the truth is that wonder, beauty and joy surround us every day. Plus, what does all that misery and frustration get us? Nothing but stiff necks, aching heads and an upset stomach.
  2. Appreciate what you have. Too many of us, pass through life with luxuries that at least 50% of the world doesn’t have – yet we complain how poor we are. We need to realize how blessed even our poorest people are compared to others. And how blessed we are to have the freedoms we enjoy.
  3. Tell others you love them. If you want to feel happiness and love, try to share some with family and friends. Often we take for granted that others know how much we care. But until we tell them, they may not really know. If you don’t have the words, check with Hallmark, they’re master messengers of love.
  4. Slow down. Take time to notice the warm sunshine, the sight of your spouse’s smile, the tantalizing aroma and mouth-watering taste of homemade chicken soup. Take a day off and go to a park, where the naturally slower rhythms of nature will help you settle into a more peaceful frame of mind. Don’t go so fast through life that you miss out on the little things – those are the best part!
  5. Today is a new day. The great thing about life is that as long as we still breathe, we have a chance to right our mistakes. It’s never too late to start over, to make amends for our errors, and to make this day the best day of our life. Once you fully recognize this, every day is full of endless possibilities.
  6. Smile whenever you have a chance. Because we’re all imperfect people and life is unpredictable, we will always have problems in our lives. That’s why it’s so important to enjoy ourselves when we have a chance. Don’t be afraid to smile at a baby in the store, to laugh at a joke with a friend, or share good news with your coworkers. Joy brings light and happiness into even the darkest room.
  7. Do what you enjoy. I don’t just mean a job you love. Whatever you love – photography, fishing, rock collecting or jazz music, do more of it. Join a club, go to a tradeshow, find a Internet site or forum online, teach it to children or simply talk about it with others. Keep your passions alive and well.
  8. Love the little things. When is the last time you star-gazed and searched for shooting stars? Or watched the wind blow the grass while you drank a glass of tea? Or read a great book? Saw a fantastic movie? If your answer is “I don’t remember,” you have some work to do. Small joys are some of the best things in life. Like a child’s laughter or a sunset, they are usually free, but fleeting, so it’s best to enjoy the moment while you can.
  9. Be open to change. Knowing that things will change is half the battle. The other half is accepting the change. We are habitual creatures, and we enjoy a predictable, set routine. Whether at work, at home, or just the “society norms,” we expect things to be a certain way. When we are open to the possibility of change we can get experience a deep enjoyment of our current happiness, because like Christmas, some things are simply more enjoyable because of their rarity.
  10. Be positive. Optimism is a great tool for happiness. When you look for the good in every situation, you are always learning and growing. It also helps you discover kindness, generosity and love you may have overlooked before. Even when times are had, you can still enjoy the love and support of family and friends, your health, or simply the beauty of a new day.

Of course this is merely the tip of the iceburg. Happiness is so much more than this. But it’s important to start somewhere. To help you further your research here are several of my favorite web sites on the topic of happiness:

The Happiness Project

The Happiness Institute

Chief Happiness Officer

Positive Psychology News Daily

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happiness Goals.

Dynamic Maggi by Ali Brohi

In the last few months thousands if not millions of people have been worried, scared, frustrated and upset by the roller coaster ride that is our economy. But what can you do in the face of all the instability, bad news and fear? Now is the time to focus on yourself.

Start by beginning to make a set of happiness goals. Some of the things that can bring you happiness may be health, friends, leisure activities and hobbies, work satisfaction, being creative, learning a new skill, have harmonious relationships, and contributing to a goal bigger than yourself.

So how do you begin? Let’s dream big! Start by imagining your perfect life. What is different about it? What kind of job do you have? Do you have more spare time? Are you more relaxed? Do you workout everyday? What activity gets you animated and excited?

Now start listing the steps it will take to achieve your dreams. List big steps and little steps. They could be:

1. Read more books.

2. Start a garden.

3. Exercise 3 times a week.

4. Get rid of debt.

5. Have more fun.

A goal list will give you direction and purpose. Writing down your goals and posting them where you can see them helps keep you on track. I suggest keeping your list on your computer where you can update them at will.

Make weekly and monthly goals. For instance, for your monthly goal, you could add steps to your goals, such as:

1. Books – make a book list of favorite subjects, authors and titles.

2. Garden – subscribe to magazine, or join garden club.

3. Exercise – buy new videos to make workout more fun.

4. Debt - save $200 a month.

5. Fun – go to the movies one night this month.

You could also have long term goals and short term goals. Your long term goal may be to start a new career, and your short term goal could be to take a career test online to find out what kind of work you like to do.

Remember not everyone enjoys the same things as you. Don’t let anyone criticize your goals and dreams. Some people might love to take a dance class and meet new people, while others would be more content in a solitary pursuit like writing or painting. Do what you love – not what others think you should do.

What could be better than working on your happiness? Just the thought of it makes me smile! Of course I can’t begin to dive into all the joys and benefits of increasing your happiness. But I know from experience that is possible. For more great insight in happiness visit these sites:

Top ten happiness tips

The Happy Guy

The Happiness Project

The Happiness Institute

30 Happiness Tips

52 Tips for Happiness and Productivity

9 Tips that Lead to Happiness

7 Tips for Making Yourself Happier in the Next Hour

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lessons of the Fool.

Jester by Todd Sternisha

It’s April Fools Day! Time for some light-hearted silly nonsense. A chance to relax, un-wind and let our worries sit on the sidelines for a little while. Too often we only see a jokester and a half-wit. Today let’s look at some of the lesson the fool can give us.

King’s funny man. Whenever I think of a fool, I think of the image of the court jester, there to provide entertainment for the king. The fool could say or do things that would normally get you thrown in the dungeon, yet as jester, he was safe from this doom. The fool could poke fun at serious subjects and by share a unique perspective by seeing things from an opposite viewpoint than everyone else.

Being a fool isn’t necessarily foolish – it could be good sense. Fools see the humorless as funny, and the amusing as significant. Turning a topic upside down helps you see all sides of it. Fools also knew the importance of seeing the humor in life. While the peasant might not have seen a funny side to having their pig killed by a run-away horse cart, the fool could see the feast that would result!

Foolish doesn’t mean stupid. Often people mistake the idea that if you are foolish, you are incompetent or incapable of learning. However while many fools may have been clumsy or socially inept, they were far from dumb. A fool could provide entertainment to the richest and noblest people in the kingdom. He rubbed shoulders with the brightest minds and best thinkers around.

Fools understand the value of a good laugh. Jesters and performers, many fools were called upon by their king to be of service by providing a diversion from worries and fears during times of hardship and strife. By poking fun at the royal family, the castle and other “off limit” topics, the fool could help the general population relief their stress through laughter and fun.

To be a fool, you have to be brave. Think about what it was like to be a fool. Wearing some ridiculous get-up, acting like a buffoon, taking on taboo subjects in the name of comedy. Not every fool was a beloved figure. To do your job and do it well, you must take risks. And you must be content in knowing that you have value even if everyone else thinks you’re worthless.

Being will to be foolish shows the greatest wisdom. In your own life there are many times when you feel foolish. You may make a mistake in an important presentation. Or have to apologize for a thoughtless comment made in haste. Having the courage to take a chance, to risk looking stupid is the surest path to enlightenment. When you break out of your comfort zone, you know you are heading towards learning and growth.

Learn from the fool. Open your mind to new possibilities. See the absurdity in the comedy of life. Be brave, be yourself, and don’t underestimate the value of a good laugh now and then. Have a little fun and know that foolishness is more than it’s cracked up to be.