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Life is too short to be anything but happy. Unfortunately, a lot of us struggle with being happy because we have a limited understanding of what happiness is. Far too often, we let external, temporary factors control how we feel that causes us to be helpless. With suicide prevention awareness on the rise, do not let yourself fall victim to this mentality because it can lead to chronic depression. Also Read - 5 Reasons Why Happiness at Workplace is Important
Always remember, being happy is a choice and we have more control over it than we think. Happiness is something we must actively work on with the company of good friends, family and environments. The good news is, happiness is not as elusive as it seems. Also Read - Signs That Show Your Are in a One-Sided Relationship And Need to Come Out of it
Here are eight habits you can adopt to be happier:
1. Cultivate mindfulness: Are you present in this moment or is your mind wandering as you read this article? Our minds are magnets for distractions, welcoming any and all thoughts. What we don’t realize is that living in the past and future creates anxiety and depression. Being mindful means to focus and be present in the moment.
Journalist and TV anchor Anderson Cooper, along with several successful politicians, scientists, and CEO’s, attended a 3-day retreat in the mountains that was geared towards practicing mindfulness and meditation. Upon arrival, attendees had to surrender any distractions they had with them, including phones, laptops and other electronic devices.
An everyday example of mindfulness easy to follow can be seen at the Google headquarters, where employees take 2-3 minutes to sit in silence and clear their minds before entering a meeting. It’s no secret that some of the most successful people are also the happiest. This is not to say that success creates happiness, in fact, it’s quite the contrary – happiness creates success. Mindfulness comes with practice.
Protip: Focus on inhaling and exhaling to clear your mind of distractions.
2. Stop waiting to be happy and redefine happiness: We have all said things like “I’ll be happy once I’m rich” or “I’ll be happy once I get a job.” There are two things wrong with this picture: the first, you shouldn’t wait for happiness. Why be happy later when you can be happy now? Stop limiting yourself to something you deserve. Secondly, when we let things like wealth define our happiness we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. Redefine what happiness is to you. Material things may bring us instant gratification, but true happiness comes from choosing to be happy.
Secondly, when we let things like wealth define our happiness, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. Redefine what happiness is to you. Material things may bring us instant gratification, but true happiness comes from choosing to be happy every day. Make the best of situations, even if it’s not looking positive, try to turn the situation around and consciously ask yourself, what can I do to be happier today?
3. Stop complaining: Life isn’t perfect. There will always be something to complain about – finances, relationships, your job, the economy, politics, your nasty neighbor, and the list is endless. Yes, maybe you spilled coffee on yourself on your way to work and chipped a nail, but in the grand scheme of things, you will be okay.
Rather than letting something little as that ruin your day, why not change your perspective? When you complain, you are bringing those problems into your awareness. The more you complain, the more that negativity affects you – it’s a vicious cycle. The moral of the story is, bad things happen to everyone, we do not have control when it comes to that. But we do have a choice of how we react to these things and how we let them affect us. Try going a full day without complaining and you will see how your life transforms. Ask your friends to join by keeping a no-complaint money jar, and the first one to slip must pay up a good price!
4. Gratitude: When you wake up, make it a point to think about what you are thankful for. Yes, it sounds silly and redundant, but when you reflect upon all of the things you are thankful for, you start to see things in a different light. Maybe you didn’t get that job promotion you wanted but you still have a steady job, a roof over your head, a car that takes you to and from work, good health and supportive family and friends, so you’re actually pretty blessed compared to many living without none of the above. Don’t ever lose sight of these things because far too often we take them for granted. Know what you have while you have it and know that you are more fortunate than others.
5. Wake up early and meditate: Take advantage of your mornings. Those early hours of the morning, when the rest of the world is asleep, are magical and breathtaking. Break the habit of sleeping in and wake up 30 minutes before you normally do, to spend some time sitting in silence and meditating. Use this time to re-energize, focus and embrace the stillness. Once you start mediating, even for 10 minutes a day, your mind, body and soul will thank you.
6. Make Nature your sanctuary: As a society, we have become so distracted by all the materialistic things surrounding us that we constantly forget the simple pleasures in life, such as watching the sunset or taking a walk in the park. Nature reconnects us with ourselves and with the present. Try to take out time each week from your hectic schedules to get some much-needed fresh air. Go for a hike and appreciate the world’s beauty around you. Take in the scent of fresh flowers and the sound of birds chirping. Some of the greatest things in life are experienced by using our senses.
7. Keep a journal: Journaling is a great tool for introspection. When you take the time out to write down your thoughts and feelings, you become of aware of what is going on in your busy mind. Sometimes we don’t know what’s bothering us until we say it out loud, or, in this case, write it down. Even if you write down a few notes a day, it’s a great way to collect your thoughts, worries and ideas, and perhaps, you will find solutions to problems you weren’t able to solve otherwise.
8. Pay it forward: When I was younger, one of my favorite movies was “Pay it Forward.” It’s a film a young boy who tries to create a chain reaction of small acts of kindness in hopes of making the world a better place. I fell in love with the idea of paying it forward. Recently, I was at a coffee shop and I overheard the cashier telling a customer, who was trying to pay with his card, that the place was cash-only. I saw the man fumbling through his pockets looking for some change and I happened to have extra change, so I paid his balance for him. He was extremely grateful and I felt good knowing that I was able to make someone’s day a little better. It was a small act of kindness, but when we help others, we spread happiness. Start this notion of “paying it forward” tomorrow by spreading seeds of happiness wherever you go – all it takes is one act of kindness to make a big difference. And who knows, maybe that person will be inspired to pay it forward too.