How we achieve happiness can be different for each one of us. Our passions, expectations, life experiences, and even our personalities all contribute to the level of happiness we experience in our lives. Some people find happiness in their careers while others prefer the bliss found in their marriages or other intimate relationships.
No matter how you define happiness for yourself, there are certain universal and time-proven strategies to bring, and sustain, more happiness into your life. These 15 timeless secrets of happy people can be adapted and even customized to fit your needs. Over time, these strategies will become positive and life-changing habits that will begin to bring more happiness, joy and peace into your life.
1. Notice What's Right
Some of us see the glass as being half-full while others see the glass as half-empty. The next time you are caught in traffic, begin thinking how nice it is to have a few moments to reflect on the day, focus on a problem you have been trying to solve, or brainstorm on your next big idea. The next time you get in the slow line at the grocery store, take the opportunity to pick up a tabloid magazine and do some "guilty pleasure" reading. Take all that life throws out you and reframe it with what's right about the situation. At the end of the day, you will be more content, at peace and be happy. Take the time to begin to notice what's right and see the world change.
2. Show Gratitude
How many times do you say the words "thank you" in a day? How many times do you hear these same words? If you are doing the first thing, saying the "thank you" the latter will naturally happen. Learn to be grateful and you will be open to receive an abundance of joy and happiness.
3. Remember the Kid You Were
Do you remember how to play? I'm not referring to playing a round of golf or a set of tennis. I'm talking about playing like you did when you were a child - a game of tag, leap frog, or street baseball when the bat is a broken broom handle and the bases are the parked cars. One way to find or maintain your happiness is to become the kid again and play!
4. Be Kind
There is no question that merely watching acts of kindness creates a significant elevation in our moods and increases the desire for us to perform good deeds as well. Kindness is indeed contagious and when we make a commitment to be kind to ourselves and to others we can experience new heights of joy, happiness and enthusiasm for our lives.
5. Spend Time with Your Friends
Although an abundant social and romantic life does not itself guarantee joy, it does have a huge impact on our happiness. Learn to spend time with your friends and make the friendships a priority in your life.
6. Savor Every Moment
To be in the moment is to live in the moment. Too often we are thinking ahead or looking ahead to the next event or circumstance in our lives, not appreciating the "here and now."
When we savor every moment, we are savoring the happiness in our lives.
There are times when we need the time to unwind, decompress, or to put it simply, just "to chill." Life comes at all of us hard and fast. Time, as do the days on the calendar, keeps going forward at its own natural pace, which is not always the pace we would choose. Fatigue, stress and exhaustion may begin to settle in on us faster than we may think, or notice. The best remedy for this is indeed rest.
The expression a "runner's high" does not infer an addiction, but a feeling or a state of mind - a state of euphoria. There is no question exercise, or any physical exertion, elevates your mood and enhances a more positive attitude as well as fosters better personal self-esteem and confidence. Indeed, one way to increase your happiness is to move!
9. Put on a Happy Face
Sometimes we have to fake it until we make it. I'm not suggesting that we not be honest, real or authentic, but I'm suggesting, sometimes, we just need to put on a happy face and keep moving forward. Researchers claim that smiling and looking like we are happy will indeed make us happier. Studies further show that if we act like we are happy then we can experience greater joy and happiness in our lives.
10. Pursue Your Goals
The absence of goals in our lives, or more specifically avoiding to pursue our goals, makes us feel like we are stuck and ineffective. The pursuit of goals in our personal lives, in our relationships, or with our careers, is the difference between having a mediocre life or a life full of passion and enthusiasm. Pursue your goals and watch your happiness soar.
11. Find Your Calling
Some find meaning in religion or spirituality while others find purpose in their work or relationships. Finding your calling may be much more than accomplishing one simple strategy for increasing your happiness, but having a sense of purpose - of feeling like you are here for a reason - can perhaps bring the greatest joy of all.
12. Get into The Flow - into The Zone
Flow is the form of joy, excitement and happiness that occurs when we are so absorbed in an activity we love that we can lose ourselves and time seems to stand still. What creates flow is unique to each one of us. To find and sustain true happiness in our lives, we must get off the sidelines and get into the flow.
13. Play to Your Strengths
One way to achieve flow is by understanding and identifying our strengths and core values, and then begin to use these every day. Once we aware of our strengths and we begin to play to our strengths, we can better incorporate them in all aspects of our lives.
14. Keep Perspective
Know when to say "when." What gives you joy and happiness the first time may not work the second time. Too much of a good thing may begin not to feel as good if the "thing" becomes more of a routine, or an expectation. Set healthy and reasonable boundaries for yourself and keep it manageable.
15. Appreciate What You Have
Want exactly what you have - know that what you have, can be lost in the blink of an eye.
Hold on to it, treasure it, and let it cover you with love, comfort and happiness.
Written on 10/02/2010 by Alex Blackwell. Alex writes for his incredible readers at "The BridgeMaker", an honestly-written blog about faith, inspiration and personal change.