Back in the 1980s, Bobby McFerrin told us all, “Don’t Worry. Be Happy.” But is it really that simple, Bobby? Turns out how to be happy might be easier than we thought. There has been quite a bit of research into happiness–what it is, how to be happy, and why it’s so elusive for some–that suggests that happiness actually just might be all in our heads. Still, it sounds easier said than done, right?
For many of us, living in this fast-paced world of ours, happiness sometimes seems like an afterthought and that’s a shame, because happiness is one of those things that makes everything seem more worthwhile. Scientists studying happiness suggest that we are more in control of our happiness than we realize, and we can make a conscious choice to be happy. Unfortunately, we spend far too much time focusing on so many other things when we need to start focusing more on our happiness. It’s not magic, but it is something that can be practiced and cultivated. One way to do this is to make some changes in your life to help you focus more on being happy.
How to be happy without anyone’s help
1. Discover your special purpose or become active in a cause: Viktor Frankl, holocaust survivor and author of “Man’s Search for Meaning”, wrote that what man “needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.” Get involved with something larger than yourself to create happiness.
2. Reduce screen time: Spending hours in front of screens, both at work and at home, is less than ideal. We know screen time is bad for our children, why do we adults think we are different?
3. Get close to nature: Being in nature promotes peacefulness and being in the moment, which are two of the essential components of having happiness in your life.
4. Pick a challenging hobby/learn a new skill: Learning something new is exciting and helps to give you focus and purpose.
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff: Life is about more than who said what about you. Try to take the long view and keep yourself out of the weeds. It will make you happier.
6. Be in the moment: Mindfulness is a tenet of Buddhism. It’s hard to hold onto the baggage that makes us unhappy when we are truly in the moment.
7. Consume less: Humans are more than consumers. When we stop defining ourselves through our things and being overwhelmed by the volume of consumer choices we are bombarded with daily, it is easier for us to be happier with ourselves and the simpler things in life.
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Image: wandering the world