As much as we all tend to believe that some people are born happy, happiness is not something that happens by itself. If you want to be happy, you have to make up your mind and work for it. In this article, I will elaborate on 3 different ways you can make happiness happen today.
Together we are going to learn about different choices happy people make on an everyday basis in order to achieve a true sense of happiness.
Don’t be fooled by the happy people around you. What may seem the easiest thing in the world, is usually a result of hard work and constant effort. The person with the biggest smile on their face has struggled with a sense of self somewhere along the way. The trick in becoming happy is in making a conscious effort every day, all over again.
So start today, make a choice and create happiness in your life!
1. Choose OPTIMISM
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”
I used to describe myself as realistic but as it turns out, being realistic did not work any wonders for me. My motto was ‘hope for the best, prepare for the worst’. Unfortunately, even with all the preparation and all, that kind of thinking only attracted the result I was constantly preparing for – the negative one. In the last year, I’ve started observing people a lot more. What words do they choose when they speak about the future, how are they dealing with life struggles that happen to everyone along the way, … and, are they hopeful?
I like that word – hopeful.
Just yesterday we were debating on whether you can become an optimist or you’re simply born and then left to grow up into your already predisposed character.
As it turns out, positive thinking does not just happen overnight. I believe that you may have some predispositions, but you are not born an optimist. Optimism is a skill and a very useful one. Optimistic people choose to be positive and to see their glass half full. Why? Well, they believe in the power of thinking. Positive people believe that positive thinking will produce positive results and vice-versa. Obviously, not every single thing that happens to them is good, but even so, there is really no sense in seeing everything negative. By thinking in positive ways we unconsciously act in a more productive and goal oriented way.
Pessimism is emotionally draining since the pessimistic person tends to see himself as a victim. Being a victim and negative all the time simply cannot produce any great result, not in your workspace and even less so in the relationship you have with others and yourself. Pessimism may protect you and prepare you for the negative consequences but it will also hamper personal progress. On the other hand, positive thinking leads to the manifestation of our dreams.
If you’d like to know more on how optimism works, don’t forget to check out the book by Martin E. P. Seligman Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
2. Choose KINDNESS
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
As we have learnt by now, happiness is such a big concept that is used to describe many states of mind. What does it mean to be happy? Does it mean to be joyful? It does. Does it mean to be compassionate? It sure does. What about caring and loving and grateful? Of course. But on top of everything, it also means to be kind. Kindness is another word that I really like.
Kindness might be the most vital part of happiness. Since we are social beings, kindness plays a huge part in experiencing happiness. It is directly linked to other human beings, whether we’re giving or receiving an act of kindness. Either way, kindness is extremely important because it contributes to strong social relationships. Studies have shown that being kind enhances the positive feelings towards ourselves and causes others to trust us more. In connecting with others and building a strong social bond, our overall wellbeing increases. Strong connections with others provide a strong support system which is a vital element of becoming happier. Research shows that we may benefit from giving support more than those receiving it, so it is important to exercise the act of kindness to experience its positive effects. It’s a way of connecting, even if only for a brief moment, with another human being.
“It doesn’t have to cost anything or take much time – what’s important is that it’s an act of genuine care and thoughtfulness for another person.”
On the topic of kindness, I’d like to suggest a book that’s been recommended by many – The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life Well worth checking out!
3. Choose GRATITUDE
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”
What is gratitude if not expressing a positive emotion towards someone or something else. By acknowledging another human being we give love. We accept. We cherish. Giving and accepting gratitude results in focusing on a more positive aspect of things. The positive emotions that we feel through receiving and giving gratitude work as a soothing blanket on our souls. Some nations are more inclined towards giving gratitude like others, but you can learn the act of gratitude in simple and efficient ways. Start with gratitude meditation and spend 10 minutes every day focused solely on the things you are grateful for. I would suggest a guided meditation, which is fairly easy to follow along and a great way if you fear you couldn’t focus for such period of time on one thing only.
If you like more active things, you could start writing a gratitude journal which seems a very popular way of exercising the act of gratitude. Writing a journal is simple. You can do it on your own and write about gratitude every day or you can buy a journal that will guide you on expressing gratitude with exercises which are usually simple and easy to do.
One of the best gratitude journals is The Five Minute Journal: A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day – simple, elegant, easy to follow!
If you want to be happy then…
…you need to recognise that happiness is the result of your thinking and behaviour, not the cause of it. If you choose to focus on becoming conscious of what thoughts and behaviour make you feel happy, you can become a happy person – regardless of your present circumstances.
Happiness does not just happen – it takes work!
P.S.: You can still get your FREE copy of Meditation for Everyday Living by clicking HERE!
Learn 5 surprisingly quick and easy ways to feel happier by clicking HERE!
Or head over to the first article from the series ‘A letter to you’ titled ‘Tomorrow’s happiness begins today!’