Do you know how to be happy, what does happiness mean to you?
Abraham Lincoln once stated “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be”
Can it truly be that simple, that we make up our minds to be happy or not?
In “reality” most people don’t experience happiness in such simplistic ways. Look at the world we live in, it is one that is in constant pursuit of happiness. We are always looking and seeking ways to feel better and to be “happy”. We end up making it far more complex, that what it really is. Why is that? The answer lies in our constant pursuit of happiness, which ironically enough when you ponder this idea long enough, you begin to realize that our pursuit of happiness, is the very cause of our unhappiness.
It also doesn’t make it any easier when the bases of our cultural, is consistently selling us on the idea of what happiness is and how to attain it. We are constantly being sold on the idea that happiness is out there, somewhere, you just have to go get it and once you do then you will be happy. Our culture doesn’t sell you the truth because the truth is hardly conducive with consumerism and with the very exhausting pursuit of happiness.
So what is the truth that so many of us know deep down, but deny?
That happiness comes from within, it’s that simple. But to understand what that really means, you first, must realize and accept that happiness is your personal responsibility. Your happiness is yours to either create or destroy.
How can that be? Our emotional state is directly linked to how we perceive events and the meanings we give them.
William Shakespeare wrote, “Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
Life isn’t fair and things will not always go the way you want them to go, no matter how “good” you may be. Life happens and at one point or another you will find yourself in unfair circumstances, but what you do with it and how you chose to proceed – that is the power you hold. Will you allow yourself to be defined by the hand you are dealt or will you use it as a springboard to create who you truly are, who you want to be and the kind of life you wish to experience?
Therefore much of our suffering comes from our thinking and not our circumstances. All of our greatest minds have conveyed this message to us in one way or another.
TO BE HAPPY WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND WHAT HAPPINESS IS
The average person thinks up to 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day on average. That’s a lot of thoughts! Now stop for a minute and try to reflect upon how many of those thoughts that you have coming in and out, are empowering or dis-empowering thoughts? It is said that 80% of the average persons’ thoughts are negative and repetitive and that 95% of a persons’ thought is being thought on an unconscious level. Which means that the average person is experiencing themselves as being “at the effect” of life (victim of their circumstances) rather than as the “cause” of their life, which gives you power over your life; we are living entirely unconscious lives. So if that is true, it shows you that happiness is not when you have, or you can do this or that, nor is it a final destination. It’s not when you get that new job you’ve wanted, when you buy a new car, when you go on a vacation or when you meet someone new. Those things provide us with pleasure, not happiness. Let’s not confuse the two. Pleasure is temporary and short-lived.
Which is why after attaining your goals, getting the things you wanted; the excitement and what we call “happiness” begins to fade. The newness of it wears off, and your back to your pursuit of happiness. We must stop confusing pleasure for happiness.
What is the purpose of your existence?
Let’s look at the Universe to answer this question. In 1929 Edwin Hubble discovered that the Universe is expanding and that it has been expanding from the moment of its creation. Therefore the Universe is in a constant state of change. If the Universe is continuously expanding and changing that means that so are we. Which tells you that your purpose is, to continually move, develop and grow. When we make progress within ourselves by pursuing our dreams and living true to ourselves, we find the unintended benefit of happiness.
Progress = Happiness and Meaning = Fulfillment.
A deep sense of fulfillment comes from feeling that your life matters, that you have something to give and this happens when you are proactively connecting the person you are with the thing that you choose to do. Still, happiness is not a constant state; we weave in and out of it depending on our state of mind. Which brings us full circle to happiness is a decision, a habit to cultivate.
How to be Happy | How to live a Happy Life
If progress equals happiness and happiness is maintained through our state of mind and meaning is what gives us fulfillment, then the first step is to become self-aware. By bringing awareness to our daily thought patterns, so that we change what and how we focus on things.
Our attitude and outlook on life affect our state of happiness. What you think, believe, and how problems affect you comes down how you choose to internally react to those “problems,” and the meaning you decide to give something. Are you selecting definitions that are empowering or disempowering? Now, I am not one that believes that if you solely think positively, you will be happier. Thinking positively is not always enough. We also need to adopt the ability to accept and surrender the things we cannot change, this is crucial.
The belief that happiness comes from our external world such as things, people, situations is a false belief which we need to let go. Those things do not bring you happiness; they bring you pleasure. We also need let go of comparison; stop comparing yourself to others. Let go of your past, your anger, your need to please everyone, let go of your need to control everything, just let go of all the things that do not serve you.
KEEP LEARNING AND TAKE ACTION
Happiness comes from progress. Keep learning and challenging yourself by trying new things and taking action in your daily life.
Our physical state plays a significant role in our state of happiness. How much sleep we get, what we eat and how active our lifestyle is, all affect the quality of our life and state of being. “Exercise has a positive effect on our body as well as our mental health. Exercise prompts the pituitary gland to produce and release endorphins, neurotransmitters that bind themselves to opiate receptors in the brain, diminishing our perception of pain.”
Start by taking a 30-minute walk three times a week.
CREATE A GRATITUDE JOURNAL
Writing things down things is more potent than merely saying them in our head. As you write down the things you are grateful for, you are not only bringing more of that energy into your life, but you are also rewiring your brain to find and focus on the little things in your everyday life, creating a habit of gratitude and contentment. Studies also suggest that writing in a gratitude journal three times per week has a greater impact on our happiness.
Remember happiness is not a constant state, you will weave in and out of it; so be easy on yourself. Keep growing, learning and trying new things and you will better than ok.
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