Happiness, Beyond the Data
Do you know how to be happy? Or are you waiting for happiness to find you?
Despite what the fairy tales depict, happiness doesn’t appear by magic. It’s not even something that happens to you. It’s something you can cultivate.
If you have been looking for happiness, the good news is that your choices, your thoughts, and actions can influence your level of happiness. You need to learn the art of contentment. Contentment, contrary to popular opinion, does not mean being satisfied where you are. Rather, it is knowing God’s plan for your life, having a conviction to live it, and believing that God’s peace is greater than the world’s problems.
So, what are you waiting for? Start discovering how to be happy!
Surround yourself with happy people. Being around people who are content buoys your own mood. And by being happy yourself, you give something back to those around you. Gratitude is more than saying thank you. It’s a sense of wonder, appreciation and, yes, thankfulness for life. It’s easy to go through life without recognizing your good fortune. Often, it takes a serious illness or other tragic event to jolt people into appreciating the good things in their lives. Don’t wait for something like that to happen to you. Make a commitment to practice gratitude.
Develop a sense of seeing positive side of things. You need not become a Pollyanna – after all, bad things do happen. It would be silly to pretend otherwise. But you don’t have to let the negatives colour your whole outlook on life. Remember that what is right about you almost always trumps what is wrong. If you’re not an optimistic person by nature, it may take time for you to change your pessimistic thinking.
People who strive to meet a goal or fulfil a mission — whether it’s growing a garden, caring for children or finding one’s spirituality — are happier than those who don’t have such aspirations. Having a goal provides a sense of purpose, bolsters self-esteem and brings people together. What your goal is, doesn’t matter as much as whether the process of working toward it is meaningful to you. Try to align your daily activities with the long-term meaning and purpose of your life. Research studies suggest that relationships provide the strongest meaning and purpose to your life. So cultivate meaningful relationships.
Don’t postpone joy waiting for a day when your life is less busy or less stressful. That day may never come. Instead, look for opportunities to savor the small pleasures of everyday life. Focus on the positives in the present moment, instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
Thus, happiness should not be your goal. It’s a by – product of a life well lived.