Who doesn’t want to be happy—or happier, for that matter? It’s free, it feels good, it makes you live longer, it keeps you healthier, it makes you more attractive, and some would say it literally affects what you create in your world. Happy rocks!
So why is it so blasted hard to find, hold onto, and increase one’s happiness?
According to a recent poll* , only 1 in 3 Americans consider themselves to be very happy. That’s right—a full 66% of the people in this country aren’t as happy as they want to be.
Is happiness something you can find, like a penny on the sidewalk? And once you find it are you at risk of losing it?
Or are some people just born happy, like Forrest Gump, seemingly unable to view the world through anything but rose-colored glasses? And if you aren’t blessed with the “happy gene” are you doomed to a life of discontent?
What is the secret to happiness? How do we find it, hold onto it and make it grow?
You Can Learn to Be Happy (Or Happier!)
Yes, some people are blessed with a natural sunny disposition, but happiness need not elude you or anyone. Happiness is an ability one can hone. Happiness can be a choice.
But lets face it, if it were as easy as simply saying “I choose to be happy,” more people would make that choice, right? It is a little more complex than that. Staying happy requires staying conscious. And consciousness is a skill few of us have been taught.
But don’t let that fact affect your happiness! Here are some tips to not only be happy, but also to become happier.
Don’t Do These Things (if you want to be happy…)
Happiness is an emotion. And, like all emotions, it is caused by a thought. Changing the way you think about your world can make a huge difference in the way you feel.
As Buddha said, “One thought leads to heaven, one thought leads to hell.”
If you want to be happy, take a look at these “don’ts”—and, well—don’t do them!
1. Don’t look for it out there
Yeah we all know this one, but even so, too many of us get it mixed up…and we begin to think we aren’t happy because we are lacking in some way.
This doesn’t just happen, there is a reason for this—our society perpetuates this misconception. TV, magazines and the Internet all hold “standards” for us to be fit, healthy, wealthy, loved, and successful. And they subtly give us the message that who we are now is not good enough.
We also do it to ourselves. We look at ourselves and see what isn’t there, rather than the exquisite beauty of who we are, and we promise ourselves we will be happy “when”…
And all the while, we miss out on what can be ours, today and every day—happiness.
2. Don’t get stuck in worry
“Don’t worry, be happy” is sometimes easier sung than done.
We worry about our families and call it love. We worry about our finances and call it savvy. But the truth is, worry is neither—and worry steals not only our joy, but also our dreams.
And when you think about it, worry never does anyone any good. Worry has no positive attributes.
Learn to head worry off at the pass by proactively doing what you can do to ensure things will go as well as possible, and then let go. Trust that you did the best you could, and the end result will be positive.
At first this won’t be easy, but with practice it will get easier.
3. Don’t hold onto old grievances
For many of us, remembering past injustices is a tradeoff we make for our happiness. We rationalize that reminiscing about how others have treated us is a way to avoid the same mistakes in the future, but all we really end up doing is making excuses for feeling angry, hurt or betrayed.
What needs to happen is forgiveness. Forgiveness of yourself, for allowing it to happen to you. And forgiveness of the other person—maybe not for the actual offense, but perhaps for the damage that happened to that person, which caused them to do it. As Lazaris says, “Forgive the why, if not the what.”
And forgiving someone doesn’t necessarily mean you invite the person back into your life. It simply means you free yourself to be happy.
4. Don’t ignore what needs healing
You can tell when something is “up” for healing. It won’t go away. It’s in your face every other day and it makes you emotionally crazy.
It also steals your happiness. One cannot feel pain and happiness at the same time. And remember, everything is healable.
If you see an emotional pattern repeating itself that begs healing, intend to heal it. Find a book, a CD, or a professional to help you to heal what you need to heal in order to move on to a life of total joy—which is, by the way, your birthright.
5. Don’t forget who you are
Sometimes we get caught up in the drama happening around us, and what happens in our world seem bigger than it truly is. We lose sight of our divinity and connection to Source.
But the bottom line is, YOU are a spark of heavenly consciousness. You are divine, by your very nature, and deserving of a life you absolutely, unabashedly love.
And you are loved. L. O. V. E. D. Loved. Big time. You would do yourself a great service to let that in.
And, Do These Things (if you want to become even happier…)
There is no “done” with happiness. You can always have more. Interested? Try these “happiness generators” on for size:
1. Understand the nature of reality
The law of attraction is true. Scientists in quantum physics have proven the theory. You literally attract your world by the energy you emit.
Unhappiness will draw to you more reasons to be unhappy. That, alone, should make you pay more attention to staying as happy as you possibly can.
On top of that, you have an innate ability to consciously create ANYTHING you desire. Anything—money, love, success, joy, creativity, enlightenment, anything. Now if this concept doesn’t make you happy…nothing will!
2. Live in gratitude
There is not another emotion that will move you from unhappy to happy quicker than gratitude. But there is a tradeoff. You have to be willing to give up victimhood, martyrdom and blame.
Yes, people say they are willing to give up those payoffs, but when push comes to shove many aren’t as willing as they’d hoped. But you can be.
Staying conscious is the key—and if you notice yourself playing around with the above emotions— stop. And then, let that gratitude truly flow.
3. Stay mindful
Stop chasing the future in your head. No matter how long your daily “to do” list is, if you can’t “be here now” you are short-changing yourself.
Practice “narrowing your focus” to one tiny task at a time. Be present with your body, your emotions, the world around you and your mind during this exercise. And watch how easily your “happy” comes back.
4. Find meaning
Unlike the coolest car, clothing or electronic device, the meaning in life won’t be on the “latest and greatest” list and it won’t be immediately apparent.
You have to search for meaning. That’s the bad news. The good news is there is meaning in everything.
You have a purpose for being on this planet and a reason for being with the particular people you are with. There is meaning in everything that happens, every single day.
Of course you could make yourself crazy if you tried to discover the meaning of every teeny, tiny little thing. But knowing there is a (meaningful) bigger picture and that you are an important piece of the overall puzzle does make a difference in your inner peace and happiness.
5. See the bigger picture
You are a spiritual being having a physical experience. One of the reasons you came here is to learn how to hold onto your happiness no matter what, and to use that very happiness as a resonance to change your world—and eventually, to change the world.
That puts it in perspective, doesn’t it? It is the truth. You just need to remember it.
You Won’t Be Perfect
You will slip up on your quest for sublime happiness. You won’t be perfect at this (or anything). But if you really want to be happy, it is possible.
Being filled with happiness is one of the greatest gifts on earth—a gift to you in the joy it brings and a gift to others in the resonance it holds. Receive (and give) your gift of happiness.