If happiness is the currency of life — the true measure of success, how hefty is your happiness account? How abundant is your contentment? How much happiness can you afford to give? Do you hoard or hide your true desires? Do you resent others for their happiness and curse their rose-colored glasses? Here are seven ways to boost your levels of happiness, and therefore, your success.
1) It’s Not the Goal that Matters
The purpose of naming long-term goals is to facilitate the enjoyment of the process. The journey on our way to the goal is made happier when we’ve envisioned our destination clearly in mind. Goals keep us from feeling aimless. But achieving the goal does not necessarily provide the happiness. Enjoy the journey — including the struggles. Become WHO you want to be along the way so that the achievement of the goal isn’t the most important effort, and doesn’t leaving you feeling empty once the goals are in the past.
2) Happiness is the measure of success, but struggle is essential, too, as a catalyst for our growth. Give yourself a license to be human.
Fighting against the Law of Gravity does us no good. It’s an immutable natural law. Likewise, we will only create unnecessary frustration for ourselves if we don’t accept that struggle is a fact of life. Make a decision to change your life and the lives of your entire family by accepting your own painful emotions as human. Emotions come and go, like disappointment, anger, and sadness. Give yourself and others the permission to be human and experience these emotions as an important part of life, rather than resisting them with a fight.
3) When you feel a touch of depression coming on, the first step is to accept it.
Most often it is appropriate, after accepting the feeling, to try to turn our focus to the positive. What is going well in your life or in the world? What is easy for you to do right now that can calm you or cheer you. Maybe tidying up a corner of the house for ten minutes will make you feel the positive sense of accomplishment. Maybe the memory of an accomplishment from earlier in the week can bring a sense of fulfillment — when you cleverly helped your child to overcome frustration, when you made that healthy choice to walk instead of taking the elevator, when you genuinely felt happy about anything.
4) Simplifying your life can bring more satisfaction to your day.
Can you think of a way to simplify your life and quiet the cacophony of modern life, which often distracts from the simple things that could otherwise bring happiness (like making a tent out of blankets with your kids)? After you identify the most important things in your life, try to find ways to eliminate the others — through delegation, hiring help, or cutting down on outside activities or volunteer work.
5) Does it take a terminal illness to begin to appreciate life? For many people, it does.
Pretend you were just told that you had six months to live. Close your eyes and name three things in your world right now that you can be really grateful for. (Go ahead and name them right now, and feel how grateful you are.) Plan on feeling more thankful for those three things in the coming days, while remembering that life doesn’t last forever.
6) Try Happiness Boosters
Making changes is sometimes hard, even if our goal is to become more joyful. For instance, when we are unhappy in our work and want to change careers, but are fearful of drastic steps. We could instead take small steps that could provide measured happiness in the meantime. Try a part-time position as a tutor instead of switching to teaching; volunteer or take up a hobby that gives a similar “boost” in happiness, before making drastic changes. If you want to make a big change in your life, try to identify 2 ideas that you could implement in the meantime to boost your happiness levels for an hour or two each week:
7) How to Deal With Negative Situations
With as little as three deep breaths we can reverse a stressful situation* (see resource below to learn how). Consider reminding yourself to take three deep breaths whenever you reach a red light or whenever you arrive at your desk or pull your car into your driveway at night. Deep breaths can instantly relax and reduce your stress. Additionally, keeping a gratitude journal can help diffuse the day’s stress. Record in the journal a list of five things (no matter how big or how small) that you are thankful for every night. And, finally, remember to choose to focus on the positive each day. Positive people look not only at the trouble but also look at the positive in each situation. Identifying the strengths and opportunities in the world, coupled with an acceptance of the hardship and negativity, produces a more balanced view of life that can serve us well.
Remember, the world today gives wider publicity to the negative and so it becomes more important for us to be diligent to train our focus regularly on the positive. Listening to the news or reading the news in the morning, if it is filled with terrorism, fraud, and murder, can potentially start us on a downward spiral. It wires our brains in a certain way. Whereas, if we start the day reading uplifting and inspiring news stories, like those in the Good News Network website, we can launch a positive upward spiral that will impact the rest of our day and help us to stay happier and more contented.
Excerpted from the first chapter of the eBook (a free download for every Good News Network Member), “Get High-Powered Mentoring in 7 Areas of Your Life …Without Lifting a Finger.” Learn more about how to be happy, as well as, how to tap your intuition, the secrets of the MIND-MONEY connection, becoming a successful author, discovering your hidden purpose with your birth date, finding the gift in your symptoms, and paying off your debts. The 43-page mentoring guide is based on the Great Mentors audio series presented by the Good News Network. Become a Member today and download your free copy. (Tal Ben-Shahar contributed to this report with his Great Mentors tele-seminar.)