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

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