How to be Happy

We all are striving for the ultimate goal of being happy, having happiness, living in a state of joy and contentment. Many people spend days, years, and even entire lifetimes striving for happiness. We are told, by some, if we just keep working for the next promotion, vacation, experience or product we will eventually reach this state of contentment. Usually, the moment or experience comes and goes and the happy feeling is fleeting. This is not true happiness. What defines being truly happy and how can one achieve that state of happiness? 

The definition of happiness, according to Websters Dictionary is, “a state of well-being and contentment”. I would argue it is in not defined by the temporal state we consider when we think of happiness, but it is an infinite and intrinsic state of mind. I believe you can achieve this bliss in every moment and situation in your life with practice. This does not mean you are going to be laughing and dancing during circumstance which are difficult or painful; rather, practicing to see the joy and benefit in the difficult time, pain, or struggle is how you can maintain happiness even in painful situations. Happiness and sadness are states of being which you, and only you, can control. So, how do get in the ‘happy’ frame of mind? I’ll share my tips with you. 

Manage your stress levels

Stress is one of the main reasons, for me personally, that I’ve had to practice finding a happy countenance in. I think everyone can relate when I say this because we live in such a fast paced world. The best technique I’ve found in managing this if you have a lot of stress in your life is find ways to reduce it, such as learning a few time management techniques. This will go a long way in allowing you to focus on the task at hand and finding the joy in even the most mundane tasks. 

Another way to manage stress is in introducing regular exercise and time to yourself. These are positive changes. Taking control of your time in this way can effectively reduce stress. If you have feelings of anxiety along with your stress, breathing techniques can help. There are many different breathing techniques specifically designed to reduce stress, such as this one: 

Enjoy Cultivating Your Gifts 

Doing things you enjoy is good for your emotional wellbeing. Simple activities like taking time to draw, paint, go for a walk, having a soak in the bath or meeting up with friends for coffee to discuss community improvement can all improve your day. Doing something you’re good at, such as cooking or dancing, is a good way to enjoy yourself and have a sense of achievement. Try to avoid things that seem enjoyable at the time but make you feel worse afterwards, such as drinking too much alcohol or eating junk food. Focus on those things that provide you healthy fulfillment and satisfaction. 

Boost your self-esteem

Self-esteem is the way you feel about yourself. The best way to improve your self-esteem is to treat yourself as you’d treat a valued friend, in a positive but honest way.

Notice when you’re putting yourself down, such as thinking, “You’re so stupid for not getting that job,” and instead think, “Would I say that to my best friend?”. You probably wouldn’t. Tell yourself something positive instead, such as: “You’re a bright person, you’ll get the next job”.

This is an entirely separate topic, but practice setting yourself up for positive thought processes which promote growth. When we change our verbiage and the way we view ourselves and the world around us from a negative to a positive framing we allow for growth and improvement. This in turn naturally changes our state of being to a happy one. 

Have a healthy lifestyle

Limit your alcohol intake. When times are hard, it’s tempting to drink alcohol because it “numbs” painful feelings. But it can exaggerate some feelings and make you feel angry or aggressive. It can also make you feel more depressed. I would recommend to always drink in moderation, but practice avoiding it completely if you’re feeling like your frame of mind is negative or unhappy. 

Choose a well-balanced diet. Making healthy choices about your diet can make you feel emotionally stronger. You’re doing something positive for yourself, which lifts your self-esteem. A good diet helps your brain and body work efficiently, too. Aim to have a balanced diet free of processed and refined foods. 

Make sure not to discount exercise. Even moderate exercise releases chemicals in your brain that lift your mood. It can help you sleep better, have more energy and keep your heart healthy. Choose an exercise that you enjoy. If it helps, do it with a friend or listen to music.

In addition to exercise, sleep is important as well. Around 7 to 8 hours is the average amount of sleep an adult needs for their body and mind to fully rest. A lack of sleep hinders hormone function and results in chemical reactions which can make it more difficult for us to see the good in situations, or feel more stressed and overwhelmed. Clear you mind of distractions and get a good nights sleep. 

Talk and share

Communication is important, whether it’s with a friend, family member or counsellor. 

Talking things through helps you to release tension, rather than keeping it inside. It helps strengthen your relationships and connect with people. Lots of people find talking to a counsellor about things that are troubling them very helpful. Always remember, though, others people cannot bring you happiness. True happiness is an intrinsic state of being that isn’t dependent on extrinsic relationships. 

Build your resilience

Resilience is what allows you to cope with life’s ups and downs. Making something worthwhile out of painful times helps your resilience grow. Starting a support group to help others, or making something creative out of bad experiences by, for example, writing, painting or singing, can help you express pain and get through hard times. I have found, even in the most painful of situations, joy can be found. Practice finding that joy in all things and you’ll find, through practice, happiness in all things. 

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