Happiness is an elixir that all of us want but few ever get. You may be surprised to know, however, that happiness is as much a matter of choice and habit as it is of circumstance. In this article, we give you five ways in which you can court happiness and keep her as your constant companion.
With very few exceptions, happiness is a choice for most human beings. The sad thing is that we seldom know that we have a choice to be happy, often finding ways to be miserable and wondering where all the good days have gone. It doesn’t have to be that way, and it is possible to make happiness a habit, like some people have done using little tricks like the ones listed below. They really work!
1. Focus on the roses
All our paths have both roses and thorns, and it is really up to us whether to focus on the former or the latter. We have an all-too-human tendency to be fixated upon the bad things to happen to us (I got a ticket, I got cut off by a motorist on the way to work, I got a bad grade) that we pass by the roses without looking or smelling at them. Keep a gratitude journal every night where you write down three positive things that happened to you that day. This can be a great habit that will help you appreciate the roses in your path.
2. Make life lists and prioritise them
A life list is a list of things that you want to achieve or perform before you die. While this may seem like a morbid pursuit, this habit of constantly making life lists can be quite liberating. A word of caution, though: limit your list to three or four things at a maximum, one for each dimension of your life (e.g. professional, personal, private, spiritual). If you make your list too long, you will never get around to putting any of them into action.
3. Make a habit of doing things
Planning is one thing, doing is quite another. Performing a physical action – no matter what it is – has been scientifically shown to reduce stress levels and anxiety. Inaction really is the devil’s workshop. So happy people tend to make a habit of doing things every day, even if they feel like they’re too little to be significant. Small things, when repeated consistently, add up to something big in no time at all.
4. Embrace your faults and fears
Every man is an island, and we all have our own inner worlds fraught with fears and uncertainties. Happiness comes to those who make a habit of facing their fears, especially ones that are psychological. If you have a fear of negotiation, for example, you may spend your life allowing yourself to be taken advantage of by people. If you have a fear confrontation, you may not tell your loved ones when they hurt you, leaving deep emotional scars in the relationship. If you make a habit of embracing your fears with grace, you will find that your happiness levels go up tremendously.
5. Practice empathy
Happy people generally make a habit of empathy. That means they allocate time every day where they’re living life through another person’s shoes. This is usually accomplished by picking up a creative art as hobby, or even by deep fiction reading. Empathy makes it easier for us to fixate upon ourselves, and it makes forgiveness an easier, more liberating process. Happiness comes easier to those who forgive.