If you want to be happy, Be.

-Leo Tolstoy

Do you often wonder, ‘where can I find happiness?’ or ‘how can I find happiness’? Well, the answer lies within ‘you’. Happiness is not a destination or a goal it is a ‘choice’ that is available to you every second. When you make this ‘choice’ over and over it becomes your natural way of living. To help you with this choice, here are some habits that would help you be at peace, in control and calm during most of your days.

Build on these habits, make them an integral part of your everyday routine life (just like food).

5 happiness habits for anyone and everyone for a more meaningful life: 

     1.       Start focusing on lasting meaning than momentary-impulsive feelings:

Many a times, we do things implusively to experience the excitement, happiness or high. This may include impulsive decisions, drinking, substance abuse or engaging with people who might not have a good effect on your well-being in the long run.

As a result, you may end up feeling sad, guilty, unhappy and fall prey to bad decision making. Hence, everyday before making a decision ask yourself, ‘Will I cherish this later or will I regret it later?’ or ‘what consequences will it have for me in the short or long run?

Try to stay away from as many momentary-impulsive actions that may make you feel good for a moment but may not be good for your overall well-being. Hence, choose actions, behaviours and habits that would add a deeper and more enduring meaning and happiness to your life instead of momentary highs. 

     2.       Purposely focus on the good times:

In a day, numberless thoughts cross your mind and the quality of these thoughts play a deciding role in your emotional well-being. It is a human tendency to get stuck on negative or fear-evoking thoughts and there is an evolutionary explanation for this. Our mind and body are focused on preserving us from any external threats and hence process and dwell on negative thoughts for a longer time. Nevertheless, not all thoughts mean real threats and infact most of our fears are about hypothetical situations (which I call ‘what if’ fears) about the present or future.

Reason with your mind and shift from these imaginary what-if fears by focusing on the good. This ‘good’ can be a person like your friend, spouse, lover, child, a place that you like or your pet, a thing like your favourite food or a photograph. 

Deliberately start focusing on the ‘positives’ or the ‘good’. For example, the minute a negative thought crosses your mind, immediately shift to a good-feeling thought like thinking about a good memory or your favourite meal, your family or pets. Do this regularly and purposely and you would soon make it a habit, a habit that would make your happiness more meaningful and enduring.   

     3.       Immediately gain control after a bad event:

After encountering a situation that triggers you negatively by either evoking your anger, irritation or sadness, one tends to carry this anger, irritation or sadness for way too long after the event has passed.

Getting stuck to negative emotions amounts to brooding or rumination and prolongs the sadness. What you need to do is gain control of your emotions and feelings immediately after a bad event instead of flowing directionless with it. You can achieve this in a number of ways.

One such way is ‘thought-switching’ which involves immediately switching your negative thought with a positive one. The minute you encounter a bad event or are brooding, force yourself to think about good memories, people you love, the food you like, the good vacation you had and so on. We all have something good to think about each moment of our life and this is what we have to use for a more meaningful life and a lasting happiness.

Getting stuck to the bad event and feeling helpless further deteriorates our well-being and acts like a huge obstacle in our pursuit to be happy and content. Hence, try to gain immediate control over a bad-event by shifting your focus to a ‘happier’ thought and letting go for the moment. Additionally, good planning and setting everyday manageable goals helps to gain the feeling of control. Religion and spirituality also help in developing a more acceptable perspective about life. 

     4.       See things with humour:

‘Humour’ is another tool, whereby looking at life and situations humorously helps to dissolve the negativity surrounding a bad event and helps us feel in control. It is a wonderful tool to build a meaningful and therefore a happy life.

When things appear to be beyond your control or just don’t appear to be right, put on the glasses of humour and evaluate your life situation. When feeling cheerless, doubtful or unenthusiastic, instead of getting stuck to this state of mind, switch to humour and look at the whole situation with laughter. It would make you feel way better and helps you to develop a mind frame to effectively deal with life stressors and come out of them.

     5.       Build and preserve a good social network:

Good and meaningful family relations, friends and a good social network add to your overall well-being and happiness. Having supportive and trustful loved ones, gives us the confidence, hope and reassurance that there is a secure place to fall back to during hard times. This makes us more content, optimistic and happy in the present and more hopeful about a good future.

You don’t need a lot of people to achieve this sense of security. A handful of close, loving and caring people would do. And then why a handful? Even a couple of people with whom you share a meaningful relationship is a good enough source for boosting your well-being and happiness.

Make sure you spend your time with people who genuinely care about you and cut short the time spent on superficial relationships unless it be for work or professional reasons. So focus on deepening relationships and spending more time with people with whom you can be ‘yourself’ and vulnerable and cherish and preserve such relationships.

Conclusion:

Happiness is indeed a choice and lies well within our reach. All we have to do is choose and develop habits that lead to a more meaningful, content and happier life. Five habits that will help you to develop a more peaceful and happier life are:

     1.       Start focusing on lasting meaning than momentary-impulsive feelings

     2.       Purposely focus on the good times

     3.       Immediately gain control after a bad event

     4.       See things with humour

     5.       Build and preserve a good social network