According to Henry David Thoreau: “Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
A large number of psychologists dare to differ. According to them if you chase the pretty butterfly named happiness enough you might just get it to come and hop on your shoulder. Here are eight simple — and some of them, essential – steps to happiness:
1. Stop dwelling.
The past is precious because you can learn from your mistakes and learn from others’ mistakes.
The pain is just training; it doesn’t define you. Think about what went wrong but stop dwelling on it. Decide how you will make sure that, next time, it won’t happen again.
Choose to remember the good times. Choose to forget the pain and the tears. Only then can the heartaches heal.
2. Stop buying possession, start buying experiences.
Instead of buying that extravagant piece of diamond, why not go on a trip to a place that has always intrigued you?
No doubt buying things makes us feel better immediately, but at the end of the day it’s the experiences that count. They enrich our lives and make memories that remain for years.
3. Pay compliments.
Start paying compliments. If you like someone’s hairdo or their shoes or their smile, go ahead, tell them. Tell them you find them beautiful, with a smile. And the moment you do that, you will feel better about yourself. The idea behind this is when you know you can make someone feel better about themselves, you automatically feel good about yourself too.
Studies show this works.
4. Stop blaming, Foster forgiveness.
When you blame others for a mistake they did, you, yourself, carry half the burden of their faults on your shoulders.
If the loss is too great, forgiveness will take time. Know that holding onto grudges will only increase your pain.
5. Start a gratitude journal.
Maintain a gratitude diary. Write down all the things you are grateful for.
You saw a baby and she smiled at you at the coffee shop. It made you feel so good; write it down in your diary.
Doing this exercise can calm despair and promote happiness.
6. Do what you like. Live your dreams.
This is a very simple and easy thing to do, but we rarely we do it.
Do you like reading? Sit all day at home and read those books you love.
Do you like dancing but due to something or the other you never got a chance to take your dancing onto another level?
I say, do it right now. Go get yourself enrolled into a dance school or dance at parties for fun. Go and try your luck in a reality show. Do it! Curbing our desires for the sake of fitting in the society or under any other pressure is no good. Do what you really want to.
7. Learn something new.
Think of a subject, a country or a flower that you wish you knew more about and spend 20 minutes on the Internet reading about it. Or, if you prefer, go to a bookstore and buy a book on the subject. Pick a subject that is really close to your heart, not something that you think you ‘should’ know or ‘need to’ learn about.
Indeed the simplest step to happiness.
Even if you don’t feel like it, fake it! Research shows that even a fake smile induces hormones that make you feel better instantly.
Learn to take these simple little conscious steps towards happiness and it will do wonders to your life.
Photo credit (top): Naveen Kadam Photography – CC license