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5 Steps to Being Happy
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__________________ have found that a person's level of satisfaction with certain areas of their life directly impacts how happy they feel.
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In your travels you may have heard the plucky Bobby McFerrin tune, "Don't Worry, Be Happy," which echoes Indian mystic and sage Meher Baba's wise old words. But, in a complex and stressful world, compounded by worries of all kinds, it's just not that easy. Or, is it?Here are a few steps to get you on the right path. Start by reflecting on your life. Does your current lifestyle make you happy? Positive Psychology experts have found that a person's level of satisfaction with certain areas of their life directly impacts how happy they feel. Some of these areas include friends and family, health, work, home environment, and money. There are also other factors that make up your lifestyle that you may not think about as often, like spirituality, community, neighborhood and your perspective on what life is all about.You can always try taking a Happiness Self Assessment Test online. These can be helpful in clueing you into the various lifestyle factors that affect your happiness, and in nailing down which one are currently making you happy and which ones might need adjusting. Perspective and attitude can be as powerful as anything out there for shaping your level of happiness.Take a day to pay close attention to the thoughts you're thinking––are they generally positive, encouraging, and grateful? Or do you spend most of your day thinking critical, angry, or resentful thoughts? Regardless of whatever exists in your external world, it's this inner lens that most powerfully shapes the way we feel. Evidence of miserable lottery winners and grateful and happy accident victims suggests that your perspective absolutely has the ability to dwarf whatever's going on around you. Take time each day to think about the things that make you happy: children, pets, loved ones, or even just appreciating the fact that you're alive, can change everything. Taking your internal perspective to another level, happy people often have what is called an internal locus of control.In a nutshell this means they believe they are able to shape their lives and daily existence, and are less likely to see themselves as victims of circumstance. You might try framing the tough cards that life deals you as challenges – even opportunities – rather than pitfalls or threats. This can help you to develop solutions or new ways of seeing a potential problem, which can allow you to build sense of control and turn your bad cards into a winning hand.Or lemons into lemonade, or margaritas or whatnot. The next step is to set the right goals. To be effective, these should line up with those lifestyle factors you value most. If they don't, you might find yourself feeling unhappy for reasons that are hard to pinpoint. You can have the great job and the big home and right car, but not be happy because you discover your lifestyle goal may have actually been to have a fulfilling relationship and family. Balance is another potentially elusive factor in living a happy life. Spending too much of your focus on one area to the exclusion of others––work is for many a common culprit––can lead you to a feeling of emptiness, particularly if things in that area ever take a turn for the worse.
Sitting down and writing a list or even making a little pie chart of the areas you actually focus on can force you to really assess what's working and what's not in your life.Once you can define the areas that may lead to unhappiness, it's time to take action. Even if it feels silly, or like a drop of water in an ocean of issues that need untangled, just take a single, baby step in the direction you're like to go. Keep the end in sharp focus––how it is you'd like to see your life going––and reward yourself for ANY progress you make, no matter how seemingly little.Finally, surround yourself with supportive people who can help you along the way. Don't be afraid to speak with family members or caring friends, or even a well-recommended therapist to use as a sounding board. Because life is absolutely for living.
If you are in crisis, or need someone to talk to right away, you can always find a caring ear at 1-800-273-TALK. I'm Jonathon Stewart, with About.com.
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1100天前
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