Tuesday, May 27, 2014

11 Simple Steps to Greater Happiness Now

Happiness is a Choice

What is the one thing every single person on the planet really wants out of life? Isn’t the answer simply to be happy? I mean, isn’t that the reason behind almost everything we do?
The pursuit of happiness is a universal quest. No stone is left unturned in an effort to locate the seemingly illusive source of true and lasting happiness. How’s your happiness quest going?

Where have you looked?

Some of the more common places to search for happiness are: a nice home, good job, meaningful relationships, big bank account, status and popularity, hobbies, and travel. Has your quest for happiness led you there?
How about pursuing it through personal development and goal setting? Have you given these a try as well? Or is there something in the works right now that you are pretty sure will make you happy in the near future?

Could you be looking but not seeing?

You probably already have many of the things that I mentioned above. And the truth is, those things can add a measure of happiness to our lives. It’s a real blessing to have a nice home and a truly meaningful relationship. Goal setting and continued personal development can also bring you happiness.
But here’s the thing! Nothing in your life can make you happy unless you let it. The key to happiness is not what you have or how favorable your circumstances are. It’s your attitude! You get to decide whether everything makes you happy, or nothing does.

Appreciation is the mindset of happiness

We are programmed to associate happiness with things outside of our current reality. That’s like chasing the wind. It distracts you from appreciating what’s going on right now. Happiness is a real time event, it’s not something you put off till “someday.”
Let’s look at some practical ways to bring happiness into our lives right now!
1. Be here now. Don’t project your happiness into the future. Think about the blessings in your life right now, and focus on being truly appreciative. Learn to experience life as it is happening, and train yourself to cultivate appreciation.
2. Notice the little things. Instead of anchoring your happiness to big events and special days, find reasons to be happy in the small things that happen every day. The vast majority of our life is spent doing the day to day things. Notice how special some of those really are and how much they add to your life. Noticing these small pleasures, throughout your day, makes a huge difference.
3. Become a student of life. There is so much wonder and awe in this world. Whatever your interests or passions, increased knowledge about those things can enrich your life. There is a lot of happiness generated when you are passionately pursuing new interests.
4Simplify your life. Start by identifying the things you really love, then look for ways of eliminating as many distractions as possible. The more chaos in your life, the greater the potential for stress. By simplifying your life in this way, you create time for your happiness, while reducing the stress and chaos. There is beauty and peace in simplicity.
5. Focus on the good. Is the glass half full or half empty? The answer really depends on which half you focus on. In a similar way, whether you feel blessed or deprived will depend largely on which aspects of your life you focus on. Almost everything has a positive side, and focusing on the positives will change your perception of life.
6. Learn to accept. It’s a noble goal to work for positive change, but some things simply can’t be changed. So, you can either drive yourself crazy fretting over it, or you can learn to accept it. If something can’t be changed, then it’s better to learn to accept. The best way to fix the world is to apply your efforts where they can do the most good. In other words, become the best possible version of yourself, rather than to try to remake the world.
7. Help others. You know the principle, “there is more happiness in giving than receiving,” well it happens to be true. There are very few things that bring greater joy than helping a fellow human being. I’ll leave this one to your imagination because there is no shortage of ways to help others. We just need to be open to the opportunities as they come along.

8. Spend time with the people you love. There is a deep bond between happy you are and how loved you feel. Don’t let circumstances deprive you of the company of your loved ones. Relationships need attention to thrive. Life goes by fast! Children grow up and move away. Don’t risk missing out on your own life, spend it with the people you love.
9) Slow down. Take time to smell the roses, and the coffee, and whatever else makes you feel alive in the moment. Slowing down means reminding ourselves to throttle back a little, and enjoy the experience of living. Rushing through everything may seem necessary, but it is just a hectic illusion. Slow down so happiness can catch up with you.
10. Make time for quiet and solitude. Spend time in nature and connect with the creation. Unplug from the noise and plug in to the quiet energy emanating from the natural world. Stop and watch the sunset or sunrise. Go to the ocean, or the mountains. Find somewhere just to be away from the things of man, and watch how good it makes you feel.
11. Avoid negative energy like the plague. Negative energy is like a contagious disease. It will destroy your sense of happiness if you let it. Take steps to avoid contact with everyone whose dominate energy is negative. You can’t help them, but they can definitely harm you. This also goes for entertainment and the news. It doesn’t matter if it’s a person, place, or thing, if it’s mostly negative, cut it out of your life.

Try it, you’ll like it!

These 11 simple steps to greater happiness may seem rather basic, because they are. The hard part is putting them to work in your life on a daily basis. Sure, it will take some effort, but ask yourself: How would it feel to be truly happy most of the time? Then decide if it’s worth the effort.

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