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Have You Built A Happy Life?
What is happiness?
Happiness has been defined as life satisfaction, appreciation of life, moments of pleasure, and the positive experience of emotions.
In other words, happiness arrives when you feel satisfied, fulfilled, and have a feeling of contentment that life is just as you want it to be.
Perfect happiness is very hard to achieve, and even more difficult to maintain as one is not either completely happy or totally unhappy. There are various degrees of happiness ranging between absolute bliss and the anguish of depression. Most of us fall somewhere between usually in the middle of the spectrum. And it may often be a roller coaster ride.
There are people who believe that happiness is having fun at a party. The excitement of new experiences, a great meal, or thrilling sexual encounters also bring satisfaction. But these issues are really the definition of pleasure, and pleasure is not happiness. Pleasure is fleeting, and if we are to have these joyful experiences all the time, we will forever be chasing the tail of pleasure to get what we believe to be happiness.
Things which will not make you happy
Contrary to popular belief, the things that society encourages us to chase such as wealth, fame, success, and power will not lead to happiness. Studies have shown that these issues will give you a thrill which soon passes.
- Money itself will not make you happy, although you need enough to cover your basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter. When you have enough money to be comfortable, having a lot more money will not necessarily bring happiness.
- A loving relationship does contribute to happiness, and some people believe that you cannot be happy if you are not in a romantic relationship. The truth is that if you are single and have good friendships, you may be happier than someone in a mis-matched romance.
- A fancy new car, fame, and goods looks will also not bring sincere or lasting happiness. These things are mostly pleasures which can never be maintained and will soon pass away.
Happiness and being content is attainable, but it requires a change of mindset, mainly from negative to positive, and the wisdom to know the difference between true happiness and short-lived pleasures.
Tips to cultivate a happier life
Your life may at present be mired in unhappy and destructive thoughts, and building a happier life will be no easy task.
But it is possible – and here are some tips to help you get there.
- Mindfulness is all about training yourself to pay attention in a special way to things happening around you. It is also learning to focus on the present moment by letting the past be, and trying not to worry about what may happen in the future. It is also a way of helping you to experience life as it happens without your mind being filled with concerns about the past and the future. Mindfulness does not happen on its own. It is an ongoing process and you have to train yourself to develop new thought patterns of living in the moment, and consciously savouring the things you are doing whether it be eating, taking a walk, having a conversation, or just admiring a view. Take time to appreciate every experience you have. Studies have found that mindfulness is a key element in the state of happiness.
- Gratitude is much more than just a thank you, or a deed given in return for an act of kindness to you by another. It is actually a way of life – an attitude cultivated to be grateful for all experiences in life, whether good or bad. Difficulties can be viewed as opportunities to learn and grow instead of whinging and complaining about bad breaks. The power of gratitude in the sphere and difficulties of daily life is often overlooked. Many folks do not realise that feelings of gratitude can provoke strong, positive changes in the human spirit. Feelings of gratitude, no matter how insignificant, have the power to take your focus off yourself, and give you hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel. When problems arise, verbalise your gratitude for things that do not need fixing and you will be able to deal with problems one at a time in the moment. The attitude of gratitude provides a wonderful facet to general happiness and contentment.
- You can be happy, even if you have illness or bad health. However, taking charge of aspects of your health that you can control, such as following a healthy diet, getting some exercise, and some good sleeping habits will add to your happiness as you begin to feel better.
- Reminiscing about happy memories, especially with someone who shares some of the memories and experiences from the past, leads to more positive emotions in the present.
- Character traits. Focus as much as you can on the strengths you have in your character. Happy people tend to build their lives around activities that permit them to use their strengths where they can make the most of them. There are many different types of character strengths including a sense of humour, kindness, loyalty, honesty, optimism, and motivational talents. Only you will know what your unique character strengths are, and using them for the good of others will promote and maintain feelings of happiness in your life.
- Look at the world in a new way. Use your imagination, one of the most powerful tools you have, and imagine that you are seeing things for the very first time. Focus on little things that you might always notice, but this time take note of the details like the shape of a cloud in the sky, or how a tree branch moves in the wind.
- The past. If you have an unresolved traumatic event from your past, make a concerted effort to find something positive from the circumstances, and work on it to learn a positive lesson which will make the event less painful.
Finally, put your focus on blessings – not disasters, and you will go a long way in creating and building a happy life.
Something to remember is that the whole world has one thing in common, no matter who you are – we really only have today to be sure of.
Yesterday is gone – and tomorrow is only a dream.