So what is happiness anyway? We always know when we feel it, and we sure know when it’s missing. When was the last time you felt totally happy? As you remember now, were you smiling a lot, were you laughing, did you feel light inside, were your eyes sparkling?
But it’s not this moment to moment happiness that eludes you is it? You can laugh at a joke or smile at someone and feel good, but that’s not enough because soon after that moment you go back to where you usually hang out emotionally. Do you feel uneasy, frustrated, sad, pissed off, blah, numb, or unhappy most of the time? Do you switch back and forth from sad and depressed to angry and pissed off? If so, you are not alone, many people feel this way all the time and they don’t know what to do to fix it.
The number one cause of unhappiness is when our personal expectations for life are not met. Here’s an example; If I expected to love my job, and I find that it actually sucks, and the people are jerks, then I might be unhappy….Or…If I expect to be in a relationship with a partner who meets my needs, and it doesn’t happen, I might be unhappy.
The longer I stay in that job, or with that partner, the more unhappy I might become. I can begin to find more and more things wrong with both, making me more and more unhappy until I get depressed and feel numb about it, or get so upset that I make a change. Often when people make a change just for the sake of change, it’s only a matter of time before they go back to being unhappy. So what can you do to change it permanently?
Here’s what you need to know: 4 Ways to Do Happiness
1. Be Grateful- According to the scientific research, the fastest way to happiness is gratitude. Find some things to be grateful about. Create a list and go over it in your mind at night before you go to bed, and in the morning when you wake up. Feel the gratitude. If you are not feeling it, this won’t work. What are you thankful for? What could you be grateful for? There is an unending list of things that you could be grateful for if you actually thought about it a little. instead of saying I can’t be bothered thinking that gratitude crap.
There are millions of things to be grateful for, including the fact that you can probably see and hear, and have 2 arms and 2 legs, and your original heart and liver, and that you have a place to live, and a bathroom that works and it’s inside, and maybe someone cares about you. You get the idea, lots to be grateful for.
The impact of gratitude alone raises happiness levels by 25%. According to more research from UC Davis, happy people live 7-9 years longer than unhappy people. You can always keep your misery as long you want later on, but you could also find time to be grateful.
2. Move Your Body– In order to experience a different set of emotions you need to move your body differently and change your facial expressions. How often do you exercise? It sends endorphins throughout your body making you feel better. Put a smile on your face even when you don’t feel like it. This little habit actually begins to shift the chemicals in your brain and you can feel better if you do this often. It doesn’t have to take a huge change to feel better! It’s easy to stand tall with your chin up, or to sit upright on the edge of your seat anticipating something wonderful. Anyone can do it.
3. Change Your Thoughts– Most of us have a bunch of negative junk that we say to ourselves over and over again throughout the day. It’s hard to be happy if you keep asking yourself; Why did this happen to me? What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I snap out of it. What am I going to do with my life?… I’m so stupid…. Why can’t I get anything done?… I hate my life…. What am I doing wrong? .. etc… Go ahead and plug in your favorite if you want. I know you have one; I have heard so many versions of this and much worse.
Change your thoughts to something that’s more empowering. As soon as you catch yourself with the negative self talk, change it immediately. Be kinder to yourself. You’ve beaten yourself up enough. Ok, one last time if you really want to, and then you can stop.
When you catch yourself saying something negative replace it with a positive statement. And dump all of your WHY questions, because they put you into a mental tailspin. For example: Why is this always happening to me? That presupposes that it always will. There is no solution in that question, only more pain. Change it to: What can I learn from this so that it never happens again? In that moment your mind opens itself up to solutions and not more problems. Or… What could I learn from this if I was truly committed? There are always solutions if we ask the right questions.
4. Contribute Beyond Yourself– Stop being so focused on you all the time. There are people out there who need you, and you can help them even if you aren’t sure you have anything to offer. You have YOU, and that’s good enough. Give of yourself to someone who is in need. There are countless ways to do good deeds for strangers, and volunteer possibilities that will make you feel better. There are hospitals full of children struggling, and Veterans hospitals full of lonely wounded soldiers, and soup kitchens, and elderly,and someone needs help…you see my point. I promise you that you will feel better about you when you make someone else smile or do a kind gesture.
These 4 Ways to Do Happiness will work if you work them. It’s easy if you want it to be, and it’s too hard to be bothered with if that’s what you decide. You always have a choice whether you want to admit it or not. You get to decide how you want to spend your mental energy and time.
For example: I could mull over in my mind about the injustice in my life, and how wrong it all is, and how could this have happened to me because I didn’t deserve it, and how can I ever forget how they treated me, and that it’s completely unfair, and woe is me, and it’s all about me, and I am going to keep on like this every day for the rest of my life….or maybe not!
By the way it’s helpful to laugh at yourself from time to time. I do it often, and highly recommend it.
What you may not understand is that the short term pain of unhappiness is nothing compared to the long term regret of doing nothing to change it. Particularly when you know it was just a decision that you could have easily made.
So, take the easy way out. Use your courage! You have 20 seconds of courage inside you at any moment that you can remember all day long. Use it. Raise your standards. Decide what’s acceptable and no longer part of who you are. Do the 4 Ways of Happiness and see what happens. Give it just a little time….30 Days… that’s all, and see what happens.
For the next 30 days, imagine that you like yourself and give these 4 Ways an honest effort. You will realize that you can change how you feel now, and it’s not as hard as you made it out to be. After you’ve been happy for a while, you will discover another level that comes after feeling happy. You deserve to feel great! It won’t happen by itself, and it won’t happen without you.