When you ask people what they want from life they give you all kinds of different answers, from making money to having a family to being free and independent, but what all these answers boil down to is that we all crave to be happy.
Happiness is the force that drives us, but often happiness is an intangible construct and we wonder how to achieve it. Let’s look at some timeless principles concerning being happy so we can work toward our own happy futures.
1. Be Present
There’s a lot in daily life standing between us and happiness, isn’t there? Life offers plenty of everyday stress and challenges, and then on top of that, people behave less desirably than they should in many situations.
When you’re once again stuck in traffic for an hour, and then a parking space right in front is taken by some guy cutting you off, it is hard to assume a demeanor of accepting calm. In a way, though, that’s the challenge, isn’t it?
Moments like this when tension is high is when you should become most accepting. Anyone can be happy when everything is working out for him or her; it’s when the stress and anger rises that make being happy impossible. You can find happiness in these situations, however, and if you do, that attitude will more easily follow you no matter what.
While standing in the “eye of the storm” look around you and understand that this is it. What you see right now is all there is. The past is a mere construct of the mind, while the future is completely nonexistent. The here and now is all there is.
By taking this in fully, you’ll find that you will be happier; after all, what better place than the here and now is there to find joy? When all you have is this moment, you are forced to live in it and enjoy it to the fullest.
If you’re having trouble with the idea that this is all there is you’re not the first. It’s a genuinely “Big Idea,” one that comes crashing in hard. To help you get in the right mindset, it helps to practice gratitude.
Look around you and realize everything for which you have to be grateful. From your possessions (like the computer you can instantaneously conjure on any and all information that exists today), to your family, to the fact you have a roof over your head and enough to eat; all these things should inspire you with a feeling of thanks, especially if you think of all the people less well off than you are.
At the same time, don’t look at those whom you think are doing better than you are; it’s about feeling joy, not jealousy. By practicing gratitude, a feeling of happiness should follow making it easier for you to live in the moment.
3. Independent Of Criteria
These two principles will help you attain a feeling of contentment, which leads to happiness. But this path is easy to stray from, and usually our own egos push us off it, because at some point you will look at a neighbor or coworker or a passerby and think that they’re better off than you are in some capacity or another.
You’re of course unable to actually know this, but your mind has a way of tricking you into believing that someone else has it made more than you do. Ignore that part of your mind, as well as people telling you that your way of life is wrong. It’s your happiness; therefore, you set the criteria.
If owning a big house, a fancy car or going to yoga every day isn’t your idea of happiness then do something else. You are the author of your own destiny; never forget that!
4. Don’t Repress Negative Feelings; Face Them!
Finally, when you are confronted by negative emotion, be it from you or someone else, don’t hide the negative feelings or put them away in some deep, dark place in your mind. You need to work through these feelings or you won’t be able to maintain your equilibrium and keep being happy.
By dealing directly with things that make you feel bad, you can forget about them all the quicker, leaving you to live a happy and productive life without as much worry.