We all want to feel happy, and each one of us has different ways of getting there. Here are 10 steps you can take to increase your joie de vivre and bring more happiness into your life:
Be with others who make you smile. Studies show that we are happiest when we are around those who are also happy. Stick with those who are joyful and let rub off on you.
Don’t start with profundities. When I began my Happiness Project, I realized pretty quickly that, rather than jumping in with lengthy daily meditation or answering deep questions of self-identity, I should start with the basics, like going to sleep at a decent hour and not letting myself get too hungry. Science backs this up; these two factors have a big impact on happiness.
Do let the sun go down on anger. I had always scrupulously aired every irritation as soon as possible, to make sure I vented all bad feelings before bedtime. Studies show, however, that the notion of anger catharsis is poppycock. Expressing anger related to minor, fleeting annoyances just amplifies bad feelings, while not expressing anger often allows it to dissipate.
Fake it till you feel it. Feelings follow actions. If I’m feeling low, I deliberately act cheery, and I find myself actually feeling happier. If I’m feeling angry at someone, I do something thoughtful for her and my feelings toward her soften. This strategy is uncannily effective.
Realize that anything worth doing is worth doing badly. Challenge and novelty are key elements of happiness. The brain is stimulated by surprise, and successfully dealing with an unexpected situation gives a powerful sense of satisfaction. People who do new things―learn a game, travel to unfamiliar places―are happier than people who stick to familiar activities that they already do well. I often remind myself to “Enjoy the fun of failure” and tackle some daunting goal.
Don’t care (about almost anything) –If a small thing has the power to make you angry, does that not indicate something about your size?” — Sydney Harris
Why? We are a social animal. We want acceptance by others. We want to belong to a tribe. This eagerness makes us care about what others think. It makes us dependent on others’ wish. Not a good ingredient for success.
If you can master this one, you have reached your nirvana. Can’t meet a friend? Late to meet boy/girlfriend at the restaurant? Can’t stay late to help your colleague?
Just don’t care. Don’t get into a guilt trip. The only exception is where it matters.
How? Two steps:
Whenever you catch yourself caring about what others will think, ask yourself, will it matter to you five years from now? If no, don’t care. Almost 99% of things will fall in this category.
If the answer is yes, do care. Your family, your health, etc.. Things that will define your success in the long run.
Follow the process: “Happy people plan actions, they don’t plan results.”- Dennis Waitle
Why? We focus too much on achieving a destination. It may be getting the promotion, marrying the love of our life or some other goals. The challenge is the goal keeps shifting over time. We end up spending time in constant discontent. We hope to be happy sometime in future when we achieve our destination, and not in the present.
Instead of focusing on the target, if we start focusing on the process, we start enjoying the current moment. We also don’t give a f*ck who else is getting what. We are busy working on our process.
Not looking outside, but inside. It is a virtuous cycle, get it? How? Whatever you are trying to achieve in life, whether getting a raise or writing the next masterpiece, follow the process. Break the path into small steps. Follow those small steps, one at a time.
If you are in sales, getting a raise will probably require you to over deliver on target. What are the steps to get the sales? Make 20 sales calls each day? Go ahead and do it. Even if you make one sale from the twenty calls, just follow the steps. Same with getting your love of life or writing the masterpiece.Build the process and follow it.