“I just want to be happy” is a recurring statement made by many of my clients. When I ask them to describe what true happiness looks like to them, most are really not sure. When I ask them to describe what unhappiness looks like, most go into great detail describing all the things in their lives not living up to “their standards” therefore causing them angst and pain. Isn’t human nature interesting?
Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well being characterized by positive, pleasant emotions ranging from basic contentment to intense joy. Happiness means different things to different people. One person can experience a tremendous amount of happiness because they purchased the car of their dreams while at the same time, another person can be experiencing a similar level of happiness because they have just had their first meal in a week. Many of us experience “convenient happiness”, which is solely based on whether something makes us feel good or bad.
Below are 5 tips for creating and maintaining a happy, fulfilling life.
*Communicate in REAL TIME. We have all known someone (maybe even ourselves) who carry around a great deal of resentment and anger stemming from an event that happened in the past. This is quite common within the family structure, hence the term family feud. By addressing an issue when it happens (real time) we are engaging in explicit communication, which is respectful, yet straightforward and to the point. When we internalize our feelings and expect everyone around us to figure out why we are so miserable, we are engaging in implicit communication which is passive and vague, ultimately leading to miscommunication and misunderstandings. If you truly desire to maintain your happiness don’t hold things in, CLEAR and move on!
*Stay on purpose. Most of us at one point in our lives have asked ourselves the questions why am I here and what will my legacy be? When we become clear on our life purpose we find that a lot of our outside distractions disappear. Purpose inspires direction, direction leads to results and results create happiness. If we desire to live a happy life, we must get clear on our purpose and begin taking action steps. Here is a hint…If you are excited when you wake up in the morning and you feel fulfilled at the end of your day, the chances are above average your are living on purpose.
*Tap into your inner child. Some of the most miserable people I know are also some of the most uptight. The benefits that come from tapping into our inner child are immeasurable. Our mental and physical health improve dramatically when we play and have fun. Far too many people have forgotten how to cut loose and raise a little hell! I challenge you to revert back to childhood from time to time as it’s good for your soul and gives everyone around you permission to join the party!
*Accepting change. Change is inevitable and if you continually fight it, you will always be able to justify being unhappy. Jobs will change, relationships will change, lives will change, plans will change, the weather will change and believe it or not, even the government will change. When we change our relationship from one of resistance to one of acceptance, we find ourselves less agitated by the inevitable nature of change. Accepting change is an important key for maintaining our overall happiness.
*Contribution. When we volunteer and give back to our communities, we experience the world in a much more compassionate manner. Most of us are humbled when we realize just how well off we actually are. It is hard to be unhappy when we are out there making a difference. As we begin to see the world from a broader perspective, we recognize that someone else is extremely grateful for what we routinely complain about.
I am not able to speak for you, as for me, I choose happiness!
I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.