Happiness has more importance than just feeling good. Happiness is also essential to your health, longevity, success, and relationships. This is all proven by research and science. Happiness is healthy!
We’re seeking something more out of life, and happiness is what we think will solve our issues. Yet happiness comes and goes; it’s a fleeting emotion. As I’ve written in previous articles, our goal should not be happiness. Instead, our goal should be inner peace.
Therefore, happiness is not the end; it’s a means we use to get to the end, inner peace.
The importance of happiness is often discounted in a culture obsessed with material success. Still, it’s hard to purchase something that will make you happy in the long term.
Your happiness isn’t just important to you. It’s also important to your friends, family, and your employer.
Consider these ideas:
- Happy people are healthier. Happier people get sick less frequently and less severely on average. Happy people visit the hospital less often. A bad mood is bad for your immune system, too.
- Happy people are less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. Your physical and mental health are at greater risk when you’re not happy.
- Healthcare is costly. Happiness can be a great way to save a lot of money.
- Happy people live longer. Several studies suggest that the happiest people live up to 10 years longer than those that are the least happy. Since happy people are healthier, they also tend to live longer too. Happiness can do more to boost your lifespan than just about anything else. It’s free, too.
- Happy people are more resistant to stress. Unhappy people are more easily overwhelmed when stressed. Happy people are better able to handle stress, and the effect that stress has on them is decreased. Being happy makes you more capable.
- Happy people are more successful. It’s worth asking if successful people are successful because they’re happy. Or are they happy because they’re successful? It’s likely a little of both. Happy people are more productive, have better relationships, and handle stress better.
- Happy people enjoy more robust relationships. Would you rather be around someone that was happy most of the time or someone that was not? Being happy can boost all of your relationships, including those with your partner, family, friends, and coworkers.
- Think about the happiest people you know. They tend to have great friendships and intimate relationships. They are close to their families, too.
- Unhappy people are often alone and have challenging relationships when they do have people in their lives.
- Happy people get more done. Happy people are more productive and are better employees. Think about how much better you take care of your home when you’re happy versus those times you’re unhappy. If you have an open position at work, consider happiness as a factor when hiring.
- Happy people have more friends. Of course, they have more friends. Happy people attract others. We enjoy being around people that are in a positive emotional state. We avoid those that aren’t. If you want to have more plans for the weekend, be happier!
- Happy people are more creative. A happy mind is more open to new ideas and concepts. A happy person is more likely to have a sound creative idea than someone unhappy.
- If you’re struggling to find a solution to a problem, put yourself in a happy state first. You’ll be much more likely to find the answer you need.
We often postpone happiness for a later date. We decide that we’ll be happy after we finish school, buy a house, save a certain amount of money, or find the person of our dreams. This is a mistake. Being unhappy harms yourself and everyone else in your life.
Do yourself and everyone else in your life a huge favor and make your happiness a priority!
Happiness! Everyone wants to be happy, right? Even animals are instinctively driven toward comfort and away from discomfort. Yet, so many of us feel that becoming happy is too difficult. We look for the “trick” or the quick fix in finding happiness.
But what if being happy is simpler than you think? What if I told you that you can be happy every day, regardless of what’s happening in your life? I’m not naive. I, too, had to learn happiness and to find my inner peace. That’s why I know it’s possible. Because I’ve done it!
There are many simple and easy things you can do each day to increase the odds of feeling happy. You’ll even enjoy doing them since their self-rewarding behaviors.
Take control of your happiness with these ideas:
Listen to music that you love
There aren’t many things that can influence your emotions faster than hearing a song that you love. You can find just about any song you please online for free these days. Set aside a few minutes each day to listen to a song or two that boosts your mood.
It only takes a moment to think of the good things in your life. You probably have food to eat, a friend or two, or a place to sleep that’s out of the rain. In fact, you probably have more than that. Remind yourself of the good things you have instead of focusing on the things you lack. Positive thoughts lead to more positive thoughts.
Spend some time outdoors
Sit in the sun, take a walk, or work in the garden. If you telework, bring your laptop outside and work. Your mind, body, and spirit need a little sun and fresh air each day. It can do wonders for your outlook on life.
Think happy thoughts
Your thoughts lead and create your emotions. If you think about something stressful, you’ll feel stressed. Think about something that makes you happy, and you’ll feel more optimistic. What are your happiest memories? There’s no harm in spending a few minutes thinking some happy thoughts! Happiness begets more happiness.
Studies have shown that one of the most potent ways to increase happiness is to progress toward a goal. It could be doing one extra push-up, learning a new word in Italian, losing a pound, or learning a new scale on the piano. It doesn’t take a lot of progress to feel good. Focus on the progress made and not on how far you still have to go.
Spend time with others
Back in the day, it was hard to find time to spend by yourself, but we’re more isolated these days. We chat with people online, text, and spend a lot of time alone. It’s essential to have a meaningful face-to-face conversation once in a while.
It’s very challenging to be happy when you’re holding a grudge. Forgive quickly and easily if you want to be happier. That doesn’t mean you have to give the other person another chance. Forgiving someone doesn’t have to include the possibility of a repeat performance.
An optimistic perspective produces a happier mood than a pessimistic perspective. It’s essential to be realistic, too. Foolish optimism might feel good at the moment, but the pain is on its way. Have a hopeful but reasonable outlook on life.
If you’ve been sitting all day, going for a long walk or a bike ride changes how you feel for the better. Being sedentary is hard on your mood. A little exercise can definitely boost your happiness.
Relax at least once each day. You could close your eyes and sit in the sun. Meditate. Take a nap. Do a little yoga. It’s up to you. Stress is an obstacle to happiness.
You don’t need a million dollars, a yacht, or a full-time housekeeper to be happy. A few simple behaviors done daily can move you closer to feeling happy each day.
What are you prepared to do today to enhance your happiness? Make a plan and add to your positive emotions.
If you’re ready to explore life coaching, I would be honored to help. You can read more about my practice or call me directly at 301-850-2177.
Why aren’t you happy? This is a question we often ask ourselves, answering ourselves with excuses we tell ourselves. Can I be happy? Sure, you can, but are you sure you want to be happy?
I find that today, listening to the news and hearing people bickering about politics is not easy to be happy. Even if I am happy, once I hear about more violence in the country, I’m no longer happy. So why aren’t you happy? Try to be happy in today’s culture!
Fair observation. Outside forces and experiences can and do take away our happiness. Being happy isn’t always easy, but it does happen. You may want to check out a previous article of mine I titled: “Happiness Is Not The Answer But Here’s What Is.”
In that article, I wrote: “Happiness is a fleeting emotion which comes and goes. As such, happiness can’t be a life goal. This is why I don’t encourage people to seek happiness as a life goal.” My premise is that we need to focus on inner peace instead of a fleeting of happiness. But for the purpose of this article, I’m content with using the word happy.
Many times we lose our happiness due to outside factors, but I find I lose my happy feeling because of my own inner issues. We can be our worst enemy when it comes to keeping or losing our happiness. The positive side to this is that if I’m my worst enemy, can’t I also be my own best friend? Yes!
Our thoughts are actually our own creation. They may seem to pop up in our heads, but in reality, we create them. So, since we create them, we can change or delete them. A favorite quote by Dr. Judith Beck, Ph.D., is “just because I think it doesn’t mean its true.” Just because there’s a negative thought about me, doesn’t mean its a right thought. As a child, I used to have the thought I was Superman. Obviously, having that thought didn’t make it accurate. So why do we put faith in negative thinking about ourselves?
Here are my ways of keeping my happiness:
- Thoughts: Learn and believe that I’m the creator of my thoughts, and so I can change those thoughts whenever I want. If you’re not feeling happy, check your thoughts to discover what you’re telling yourself. If you’re telling yourself unhappy thoughts, then, of course, you will feel unhappy.
- Perspective: The way we view the world around us becomes our reality. If we focus our thoughts on the negative, of course, all you will perceive is negative. The more you look for the positive, the more positive you will find. And if your perspective is positive based, so will your thoughts.
- Kindness: Have you noticed that many times we are kinder to others than we are to ourselves? Learn to treat yourself as you treat others. If you are patient with others or give them the benefit of the doubt, do the same to yourself.
- Mindfulness: Practice living in the moment, feeling what you’re feeling without judgment. Learn those times when you aren’t happy, and teach yourself ways to become happy.
- Keep Going: Just when life is going great and you’re feeling comfortable, we tend to self-sabotage. We stop ourselves just before we achieve our success through the thoughts of not feeling worthy or of not thinking you really can achieve this. Don’t allow those thoughts to influence you. You made it this far, keep going.
Why aren’t you happy? It might be your own thoughts. Change your thoughts, and you can once again feel happy.
Are you happy? The reason I ask is that many people tend to judge their life goals or where they are in life based on their level of happiness.
So, for our purposes, I describe happiness as “our level of satisfaction with what we have at the moment”. Now, when we say, “with what we have,” that could be our material goods, job, career, relationships, or anything else. So, taken in the context of my definition of happiness, are you happy?
This may sound strange, but I promote that happiness is not a goal to strive toward. Why would I stay away from a goal of happiness? Well, the reason that I say this is that we tend to look at happiness as “Am I satisfied with what I have right now?”
The problem with that question is that the answer changes over time. I might, as a child, be satisfied in life playing with a cardboard box. But, all that changes when I become a teenager and young adult, as that box may no longer make me happy. As I advance through adulthood, the whole notion of happiness changes again.
So, when we look at the idea of “my life’s goal is to be happy,” are you saying you want to be happy right now, or are you talking about always being happy? If you want to always be happy, how are you going to do that? Is that a reasonable goal?
Happiness is a fleeting emotion which comes and goes. As such, happiness can’t be a life goal. This is why I don’t encourage people to seek happiness as a life goal.
Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I’m not saying, “Don’t be happy.” It’s important to be happy and to want happiness. What I’m saying is that happiness to fleeting to be a goal. If you think back on your happiest moment, can you feel that emotion again? If you can find that emotion again, can you live it to its fullest as you did then? Odds are, you can’t. Emotions are fleeting.
For me, I encourage people to find their inner peace. “What is inner peace? How can I achieve this inner peace?” I’ve come to realize that many of us feel stressed and anxious when we feel out of control. So, if I’m dealing with something in life that I feel is totally out of my control, and I think there’s nothing that I can do about it, I’m going to feel pretty stressed over that because generally speaking, we like to be in control. That’s just human nature.
When we’re not in control, then the stress goes up. When we find ourselves in situations we think is in our control, then our stress goes down. We can also find our inner peace when we are in union with ourselves. What do I mean?
Think about your values, those ideals which are important to you. What holds meaning for you? When you reflect on yourself, are you acting and thinking in ways that are in union with those values, those beliefs?
When we can become more in tune with what’s really important deep down then we begin to live that. We think and act in ways that unite us with what we are thinking and doing. That’s when we start to feel an inner peace because we are joined with our values and actions. Therefore, I’m at peace with myself since I’m in union with myself.
When I do things that go against who I am I’m no longer in sync with who I am, then I’m going to lose that peace.
Here’s a quote I often use, from the Talmud, that says, “We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.” In other words, the way that I believe about and view myself influences the way that I see the world around me; other people, situations, and the like.
So, if I really don’t like myself, if I’m having issues with who I am, if there are things going on in me that seems negative, I am not going to look outside and say, “Oh, look at that wonderful sun,” or “Look at that beautiful sunset.” No. That’s not how I’m going to view it because I don’t view myself that way.
Here’s a true story from when I was in college. There was this professor who, every morning, if you walked up to him and said, “Good morning,” he would look at you with the sternest look and reply, “Don’t tell me what kind of morning to have.” He was not a happy man. He wouldn’t even let anybody sit with him during meals.
He had his reasons for this attitude given his history, but other people had similar histories as well and lived a more peaceful life. Yes, he had a reason to be upset, but even so, that was his past, and we still have the choice of how we wish to live in the present.
The bottom line is that we have choices in life. If you want to live miserably go ahead. Live the way that you want to live, but don’t complain about the situation in which you’re living if this is something that you’re choosing to do. You can’t choose your circumstance but you can choose the way that you view that circumstance, and for me, this is why I don’t promote people saying, “Well, my life’s goal is to be happy.”
Happiness is too dependent upon feelings, too dependent upon things, too dependent upon situations. You see if we promote living in conjunction with who we are and seek a life goal to find inner peace it doesn’t matter if I’m happy or not. Inner peace has nothing to do with my circumstance but everything to do with my response to the situation.
I could feel miserable; I could feel sad; I could feel angry; I could feel out of control; I could feel any of those things, but still have peace within myself because regardless of what I’m feeling, I’m acting and thinking in union with who I am.