In this materialistic world, where each one of us is busy chasing something every minute of the day, we often find ourselves missing out on happiness. People end up making a whole lot of money and are yet not happy with their lives. On the other hand, there are people who find happiness even while leading a minimalist lifestyle.
Happy people aren’t born that way. They condition themselves to be happy and everything else falls in place. Happiness is very much a state of mind and has different meaning for different people. Some derive happiness from money, some from their family and some others don’t really need a reason to be happy.
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So what’s special about happy people that makes them stand out from the lot? Is it because they are simply blessed to be able to feel so? Or do they have everything that rest of us have to chase? If so is the case, then rich people must be the happiest ones which most of us will disagree with. Happy people are happy because they have a certain set of habits feeding the happiness hormones of their body. These habits, once adopted, can help us ‘be happy’ with little things in life besides being able to celebrate it with more zeal and positivity:
1. Feel grateful for what you have: Always be thankful for little things you have been bestowed with by life and you will know that you, in fact, have a zillion reasons to feel happy about. Isn’t the fact that you have legs to walk reason enough to feel happy? Isn’t the fact that you’ve got food to eat reason enough to celebrate? So next time, when you feel unhappy about something that went wrong, pick a piece of paper and a pen, create a Gratitude list and put it up on the wall. I use The Five-Minute Gratitude Journal to pen down everything good that has happened to me during the day. Even when I sometimes feel that my day didn’t go well, I make it a point to scribble down the little things I feel grateful for – my tiny little eyes that help me see the world, my family that loves me unconditionally and the roof above my head.
Don’t keep complaining about the things that went wrong or for what you couldn’t achieve in life. If you are constantly complaining about the things you don’t have, you can barely be happy about the things you actually have. No matter how much you have achieved in life, you will always find a reason to be unhappy about. Learn to find joy in the ordinary. Those who find joy in the ordinary often end up having the extraordinary.
2. Stop chasing ‘the extra’: It’s always to good to have dreams as they give your day a purpose and a reason for you to wake up in the morning. But when you achieve something in life, learn to celebrate it instead of feeling unhappy about how much more you could have achieved or how well you could have done to achieve more. You must set goals for yourself but you must never make them the eventual purpose of your life because when you have your eyes set on something extra, you will never feel contended with what you have right now.
3. Fall in love with yourself: We are all built differently and we all have our own flaws and talents. Once you recognize the fact that you are unique and you are not required to be perfect, you learn to embrace life with more enthusiasm and happiness. Besides, success and failure is a big part of life and they alone can’t define who you are. So look at yourself in the mirror every now and then and say it out loud, “Hey there! You are doing great in your life.” You can also maintain a self-love workbook that will help you release self-doubt, build self compassion and embrace who you are.
4. Stop taking criticism personally: When you really care about what others think and feel about you, you are simply letting others steal your happiness. Nothing stands above the fact that if there’s someone who knows you the best, it’s “you”. So next time when someone calls you selfish or opportunistic, just let yourself know that you’re not here to serve their interests. Do what makes you happy and not what possibly can change people’s perception about you.
5. Surround yourself with happy souls: It’s a famous saying that “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. So do choose your friends wisely for how happy they are will eventually decide your measure of happiness. If you are spending your time with people who are always complaining about how unfair life has been to them or the ones who are always talking about others in a bad light, you will end up being one of them eventually throwing away the positivity within you. Surround yourself with people who share a positive outlook towards life and those who believe in being happy. I promise that you’ll never find yourself unhappy if you do it.
6. Learn to forgive others: Holding grudges with people who have done some wrong to you might make you feel better for a while but at the end, it would steal your mental peace. Forgiveness is a blessing not everyone can give. Be a bigger person and forgive your foes for your own mental peace. Not only would it lighten the load off your heart, you’ll be happier than ever.
7. Start your day right: “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed”. These words of Admiral William McRaven have been inspiring me ever since I read them. When you start your day by making your bed, you feel a sense of accomplishment. You get a feeling that you have done something good right after the moment you opened your eyes in the morning and you feel happy about it throughout the day. Do some activity that make you smile in the morning, be it playing some sport with your mates or going for a little walk. A morning started right makes up for the entire day. Prepare an hourly To-Do list right in the morning to give yourself a sense of purpose as you start the day.
8. Don’t compare yourself to others: You are depriving yourself of happiness if you have a habit of comparing yourself with others. By comparing, you will definitely find something missing in your life and you will end up being unhappy while chasing that missing stuff. Be happy with what you have rather than being unhappy about what others have and you don’t. Comparison often creates unnecessary needs which make you unhappy if gone unfulfilled. Spend your time living in the moment rather than wasting it in comparing yourself to others.
9. Be optimistic: Optimism always comes with a bonus that we call as ‘happiness’. When you are taking a step ahead in your life, always take it with the hope that things will go in the right direction. If you are going for a job interview, always tell yourself that whatever happens, happens for good. When in distress, tell yourself that ‘everything will be fine’ rather than stressing about ‘What if something goes wrong?’ The biggest advantage of being optimistic is that an optimistic person discovers happiness even in his failures and shortfalls.
10. Go out and socialize: I always believe in the importance of spending time with yourself every now and then but that doesn’t rule out the need to go out and socialize. Socializing with people gives you a sense of belonging. By socializing, you meet different people who have a different perspective on life and of course, you feel happier when you have someone to share your happiness with.
11. Stop worrying about little things: Overthinking and constant worries make us feel sad about things that are of little value.
“Oh God! It’s raining outside. Will I be able to reach the office on time?”
“I was five minutes late to pick my child from the school. Am I a good mother?”
Overthinking steals your mental peace and you often end up being worried about the things that don’t even exist. So instead of stressing yourself about such worthless stuff, ask yourself if it would matter a year from now. Know that the world won’t fall apart if you are late for office. Also, stop labelling yourself as a bad mother only because you were a bit late to pick your child up from school.
12. Don’t be a people pleaser: By constantly being on a spree to please others, you are simply giving them the charge of your own happiness. When you focus on pleasing others, your own happiness takes a backseat and within no time, you stop prioritizing yourself and start depending on others for your own happiness. Stop pleasing others if you really want to be happy and start focusing on what makes you happy.
13. Make your body happy: A happy body makes for a happy mind. It’s a scientific fact that when your body screams that “I’m happy”, your mind feels happy automatically. Eat healthy food and exercise regularly to keep your body happy. Remember that a healthy body is the happiest one.
Happiness isn’t a blessing that’s showered only on some of us. It’s a choice given to each one of us and it’s solely upon us to grab it. The least you can do is Smile – with or without a reason. Smile creates positivity around you which in turn keeps you happy.
Have a happy day!