Many people spend their whole lives searching for happiness, constantly looking for the perfect situation that they believe will make them happy. Others have found that happiness is really a choice that one has to make regardless of their current place in life. After all, we are human beings. We are not going to be naturally happy all of the time. We are triggered by negative people and events within our environment. Much of this is beyond our control, which can leave people feeling helpless and unhappy.
However, the truth of the matter is that happiness is within your grasp. If you open your mind and embrace these four simple practices, your level of happiness grow significantly.
FOCUS ON GRATITUDE
We hear so much about gratitude and being thankful for what we have, but there is so much truth to this. If you are truly grateful, you will find it difficult to be unhappy. There is always someone who wishes they had what you have in your life. Perhaps you are too focused on the one or two things which you do not have, that you are completely neglecting all that is wonderful in your world. When you find yourself in a negative state, take a quick inventory of all the greatness in your life—loved ones, health, a job, your goals. The list goes on and on. There is always something for which you can be grateful.
RECOGNIZE YOUR NEGATIVE STATE
Have you ever found yourself in a bad mood and you’re not really sure why? One way to work your way back to happiness is to recognize your negative state and really feel the emotions that come along with it. Ask yourself why you’re feeling the way you are. What triggered you? What was the moment that you began feeling unhappy? Once you are able to identify the emotions—sad, angry, jealous—allow yourself to feel them. Don’t dismiss them as unimportant or try to cover them up with superficial happiness. These negative feelings will fester and resurface again later, only more intense and damaging. Once you have recognized your feelings as a certain emotion, they will not seem as unsettling as the general ambiguity surrounding your negative state. This will help you to move on from these feelings in a more efficient manner.
MAKE DECISIONS TO AVOID UNCERTAINTY
If you’re dealing with a lot of uncertainty or questions in your life, you can increase your happiness by making decisions. People will often say it’s better to know an outcome, whether positive or negative, rather than being stuck in limbo. This is because once you have a definitive answer, you can take appropriate action based on these truths. If you’re feeling stuck in your life and you’re not sure what to do, ask others for advice. Enlist the assistance of a coach to help you work through solutions. The more uncertainty you can eliminate, the more empowered you will feel to move yourself forward, which will ultimately add to your overall happiness.
If all else fails, you can always add happiness by spreading love and kindness. Enjoy precious moments with your friends and family. Spend time volunteering in your community. Nothing brings greater happiness than the feeling of bringing joy to others. There is also much to be said for physical embrace. There is a reason why people give each other hugs when someone is feeling down. There is a great healing power in physical touch. Give a hug or receive a hug. Either way, you will feel much happier as a result.
Like a lot of aspects of life, happiness is not a final destination but rather a daily effort that you maintain. As we know, practice makes perfect. The more you work on increasing your happiness, the easier it will become over time. Now, this is not to say that eventually you will be a perfectly happy person. Some days you will be happier than others. You’re going to have bad days and feel triggered to slip into a negative state. However, you will be much wiser to face this challenge. You will have been equipped with the proper tools to shift your focus back to the positive and embrace the happier side of life. Even in your darkest days, you can always find one thing to be happy about. If need be, focus on that one thing and move forward, and know that brighter days are ahead.
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