“All I want is to be happy. All I want for my child is to be happy. All I want for my friend is to be happy. All I want for my (fill in the blank) is to be happy.” There is an epidemic of people seeking to feel happy no matter what, at all times. So, who knows how to live with true happiness?
What Resilient People Know
Resilient people know that moments of happiness are possible; that those moments are worthy of being cherished and savored. They also know it is not smart to expect to feel happy every moment of every day. Actually, this expectation is unhealthy, filled with euphoria and delusion.
Get it about Feelings
Feeling happy is but one emotion that comes and goes. It gives us the information that in that moment we have what we want. Feeling sad tells us that we don’t have what we want. Feeling scared tells us that we are at risk of losing what we want. Feeling mad can provide the emotional energy to make a difference. It is through feeling all our emotions that we know who we truly are. As the shame researcher, Brene Brown wrote:
Give yourself permission to feel emotion, get curious about it, pay attention to it, and practice . . . Be your most authentic self.
In the end, it is best for our humanity if we are not feeling happy all the time but aim to live with a sense of living a satisfying life. The secret to True Happiness is being open to feeling a range of emotions while catching, appreciating and savoring the happy ones.
One feeling that can trip us up is fear. According to Dan Baker, author of What Happy People Know, we lose life satisfaction when anxiety drives us into believing we don’t have enough possessions or believe we are not important enough. A broad definition of a “happy person” includes acceptance of feelings, including insecurity, while creating his or her own life meaning.
Baker and other researchers such as David Niven, author of The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People and Martin Seligman, author of Authentic Happiness offer ways to transform your days into a full rainbow that includes feeling happy in the mix. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Five Tips to Increase Your Happiness
1. Count Your Blessings
Researchers discovered that wealth makes no difference to happiness after people live above poverty levels. Make a concerted effort to express appreciation for what you have and consider keeping a gratitude journal.
In a study using surveys and daily observation, the availability of material resources was nine times less important to happiness than the availability of ‘personal’ resources such as friends and family. David Niven
2. Use Your Strengths
Confirm your strengths by going to http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu and taking the Signature Strengths inventory created by Martin Seligman. Then acknowledge your strengths, use them and volunteer them to make a difference.
The road to happiness lies in two simple principles: find what it is that interests you and that you can do well, and when you find it, put your whole soul into it — every bit of energy and ambition and natural ability you have. John D. Rockefeller III
3. Make Wise Choices
Make wise and healthy choices that are within your power and control. Nourish yourself emotionally, physically, mentally, socially and spiritually. Weigh up your life once a year.
If you find you are getting short weight, change your life. You will usually find that the solution lies in your own hands. Roberson Davies
4. Change your Language to Change your Perception
What we think. We articulate. What we say often becomes our perception of reality. Years ago yours truly ended up in a psychiatric ward after repeatedly saying, “You are driving me crazy.” I had programmed myself into being a crazy woman. According to most people’s reports, I’m now re-programmed into an optimist.
The inner speech, your thoughts, can cause you to be rich or poor, loved or unloved, happy or unhappy, attractive or unattractive, powerful or weak. Ralph Charell
5. Open Yourself to Absurdities and Humor
Victor Frankl, the author of Man’s Search for Meaning, used levity to help him survive the Holocaust. Erma Bombeck, one of America’s most loved journalists and authors, used humor to bring sanity to herself and her readers. Her book titles reflect a wink and smile at everyday contradictions: If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?
Laughter rises out of tragedy, when you need it the most, and rewards you for your courage. Erma Bombeck
Finally, when you catch those happy moments, experience the wonder of appreciating and savouring them. One way to embrace true happiness is to sing along with Pharrell Williams’ HAPPY!
Because I’m happy. Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof.
Because I’m happy. Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.
Because I’m happy. Clap along if you know what happiness is to you.
Because I’m happy. Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do.
Please share with us how you catch, appreciate and savour your happy moments. OK?
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Patricia Morgan MA CCC helps her readers, clients, and audiences lighten their load, brighten their outlook, and strengthen their resilience. To go from woe to WOW call 403.242.7796 or email a request.