HAPPINESS. A word that means different things to different people! For some, it could mean becoming rich and never having to work a day, for some it could mean being in a happy relationship, living in their dream country, wearing pricey clothes and what not’s. While some have found the secret to unlocking happiness in their lives, some have still not found their own kind of happiness. But what does happiness mean to you?
Does happiness mean having to live in all of life’s perfections without anything going wrong or having any negative thoughts? Let’s journey through a few collections’ I have come up with from studies and research on how to achieve true happiness!
1) Find what happiness means to you.
Like I asked earlier, what does happiness mean to you? Is it safe to say that you are positively happy? If the answer is no, do you know what it takes to find happiness? These are important questions for anyone set out on that journey towards finding happiness. Look inwards and outwards, there must be that one thing you have found yourself doing at some point that has made you utterly happy! How connected are you with such thing? Have you detached from it? How can you bring it back to your life and make it a part of you? If doing something once made you happy, then it surely made a difference! Do more of it. Doing more of what makes us happy not just changes our lives entirely but it also helps us see things differently! Once we’re able to characterize the value of happiness in our lives, it naturally becomes a priority!
“It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.”- Lucille Ball
2) Change your mind-set
No! The happiest people do not have it all. They have only found a way to remain happy with what they have. Happiness cannot be derived from constantly obsessing about how perfect we think others’ lives are. Be content with your life. Don’t try to compare your life with others. We are all different with diverse qualities which make us unique in our own different ways. Instead of investing a considerable measure of time grumbling about the things that befall you or the things that you have been unable to achieve, learn to appreciate what you have whilst working to achieve better. Beating yourself over the negatives in your life is futile exercise! We have no control over most things that befalls us, yet we can control how we respond to them. You must take responsibility for your circumstance and defeat these snags.
“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius
3) Set goals
This also translates to being busy. Misery they say loves company! Once you keep misery company and feed it, it will survive and surely kill every seeming chances of being happy. This is because the mind is idle and so are you. When you set goals for yourself, all your attention is drawn towards achieving such goals and as such being idle or having idle conversations becomes a waste of time. Because happiness comes with fulfillment, to be happier, stay occupied! If your set goals are not working for you, step back and re-evaluate them. Whilst working towards your goals, create a friendly and social identity. The most ideal approach to achieving set goals is in associating with others. By associating with others, you are bound to know more, learn more and you’re drawn towards different opportunities which create an active and purposeful life. If friends bring nothing but negativity towards your drive, find more positive people to associate with.
“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”- Franklin D. Roosevelt
4) Learn to forgive
As a matter of fact, most of life’s unhappiness arises from dealing with hurts, disappointments, betrayals, failures, etc. Since all of these enlisted occurrences are almost inevitable, how can one combine dealing with them and being happy at the same time? Almost impossible! The truth however is, to be truly happy, one must learn to forgive and let go. Forgiveness is not a one-off attempt, or something we do to favor the other party, we do it for ourselves. Beating ourselves up over our mistakes or the mistakes of others denies us that chance to be happy and once that happens, one loses that capacity to concentrate on better things to come. By forgiving, you set yourself free from all the bonds of pains, heartaches, stress, unhappiness and all sorts. Since forgiveness is the biggest tool to achieving self-growth and happiness, you own the key! When we choose to forgive others, we forgive ourselves too for denying ourselves a chance to be happy.
“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” – Steve Maraboli
5) Give yourself a treat!
This would be my top pick because it works for me all the time. Many a time, we look out to others to treat us to the best things, we lay so much expectation on others to make us happy, much so that if they failed, it becomes almost impossible to recover from the disappointment. Most often still, we find ourselves even “too busy” to spend some “me time”! When the struggles and hustles of life come, we tend to leave ourselves behind forgetting that we have our own personal needs and cravings, many of which can only be satisfied by us. Sometimes, we need to step out from the entire buzz and spend some time with ourselves because that alone time could be just what you need to unwind and kill the stress that causes unhappiness. Make a list of things that make you happy, places you’d love to visit, something you’d love to get for yourself, whatever it is, –treat yourself to it!
“Self-love seems so often unrequited.”- Anthony Powell
6) Keep in touch with family and friends
It is said that the best cure for a human is another human. One cannot be happy living like an island, void of any close ties. How often do you keep in touch with family, friends, and even friends like family? Beyond keeping in touch with them, most often we need to spend time with them. When we spend time with family and friends, we strengthen that bond we share with them and we pass across reminders that we truly care about them and appreciate them. It’s like watering the lives of others and by so doing; we water our own lives too! Remind them often; both in actions and words how much you appreciate them being a part of your life.
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”- Marcel Proust
7) Eat well, drink well (water), sleep well
Yes! Our body responds to how it is well treated. If it’s not taken proper care of, we can’t function. Most often, depression arises from poor eating habits, drinking habits and sleeping habits. This is because lack of sleep and poor eating habits dampens the mood. Research has it that poor sleeping habits lead to life’s dissatisfaction. This is because when you don’t get enough sleep you lack the ability to think clearly, and end up physically and emotionally unhappy. Also, since the brain is 75% water, drinking enough water helps in releasing endorphins. These endorphins are responsible for our feelings of excitement and satisfaction. High endorphin levels make us feel less pain and fewer negative effects of stress.
“The way you think, the way you behave, the way you eat, can influence your life by 30 to 50 years.” – Deepak Chopra
8) Be positive!
It is harder to be happy when we’re too busy chasing negativity. Negativity has a deadly way of making one lose all self-confidence, to the point of secluding oneself from the society. When you give room for negativity, you affirm all the bad in your life and lose sight of the good and this perception becomes a reality! Don’t have a “Cup-half-empty” attitude towards life and towards achieving your dreams. Rather, see possibilities in everything. When you focus on the bright side of life, nothing can affect your view point because your mind is centered on a goal. Be positive! Focus on all the good, affirm it, believe it, work towards it and it becomes all yours!
“Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you.” – Mary Lou Retton
There are times when we might have found ourselves unhappy, yet we can’t seem to place our fingers on any cause for such unhappiness, and so it stays, builds up and makes us dysfunctional. When that happens, it’s the perfect time to pray! That silent moment of prayer and meditation brings the mind to a calm state and restores peace and happiness. Most often, why we are unhappy is simply because we have not made out a perfect time to commune with God and when we figure that out, we need to bridge that gap once again.
“Prayer may just be the most powerful tool mankind has.”- Ted Dekker
Yes! All work and no play, makes jack a dull boy. Sometimes we need to get off the spin and play! The mind and body cannot be stationed to our everyday hustles, day in, day out; otherwise, it will drive happiness far away! Figure out what your “unwind” kind of exercise is and indulge!
“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
11) Be happy!
We can only be about as happy as we decide to be. Like they say, “happiness is a choice”. Truly it is! It has to be something you make up your mind about. Beyond reading this article, self-help books, listening to advice from friends on how they have learnt to be happy, if we do not by our own selves, decide to be happy then it’s only a waste of time! Don’t just desire happiness, go for it! Tell yourself that you deserve to be happy and when you say it, believe it!
Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy. – Guillaume Apollinaire
The truth of it all is, there are endless lists of ways to be happy but the power is totally in your hands! Finding happiness is definitely a “DIY” (do it yourself) exercise. it is up to you to truly be happy!
Thanks for reading! What are your own views on being happy? Stay updated for my next article on “looking at the big picture”. Have a productive week! 🙂
QOTD: “If you want to be happy, be!”
‘Nonye J. Chidolue (@nonyewrites)