Your life is precious.
You yearn to make the most of it.
Yet on some days, you wake up dreading the day ahead.
You find yourself asking, ‘What’s wrong? Why do I feel so flat?’
You’re not alone, most of us experience times like these.
What sets happy people apart, is their way of being in the world – even in difficult times.
Remarkably happy people bounce back from whatever life throws their way.
For them, happiness is a habit.
The good news is we can all learn how to make happiness a habit.
Here are seven ways remarkably happy people approach life (and you can too).
1. Tackle tough situations directly
Fall seven times, stand up eight.
– Japanese proverb
Perhaps problems with your boss, a financial crisis or health issue are bringing you down. Maybe you feel stuck in the drama, or try to bottle up your feelings?
Happy people take a different approach
Rather than spend time telling themselves, ‘All is well’ – while sweeping their problems under the rug, they allow themselves to experience sadness, disappointment and anger at what’s happened.
Their energy continues to flow; their hearts and minds remain open.
Simply being with what is, keeps you honest and open about what’s going on – as well as receptive to suggestions for handling the situation.
If you remain present and open, you can quickly let go of the part that’s not within your control. And you can access creative problem-solving abilities to address the part that is within your control.
2. Master the art of having fun
Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.
– Michael Jordan
Recently, I saw a commercial where a father is watching his young son play baseball. The son misses every catch. The game ends. A look of concern comes over the father’s face. He approaches his son and asks him how he’s doing. A huge smile spreads across the boy’s face. He responds “I was awesome!”
When was the last time you felt like that?
Like children, the most happy amongst us master the art of having fun.
How can you master this art?
Do what brings you joy and connect with that joy, instead of judging yourself on your performance.
Put time and money aside to fund your fun. Do you need a new guitar, or some biking equipment?
Turn a jar into a “fun things account” and put your loose change in it each week.
3. Let go of goals if you outgrow them
We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
– Joseph Campbell
Back in your teens, what dreams did you have?
Perhaps you imagined a certain career, finding the love of your life, traveling the world, or making a lot of money?
The more you imagined it, the more you became attached to the outcome. You set goals, invested time and energy into your dreams of the future.
But our journey through life often doesn’t turn out as we imagine. And what we thought would make us happy, sometimes doesn’t.
The most happy among us leave themselves open to possibilities. Instead of seeing life as something to control by rigidly sticking to plans, they see it as an adventure to be experienced. They have goals, yet allow their life to unfold, tweaking plans or creating new ones when a better option appears.
Let’s take a look at how this could play out in your life.
If a goal no longer matters to you, don’t worry about what might happen if you change course. You aren’t limited by other people’s opinions about what’srealistic. Embrace your hunches and look for new options that appeal to you.
Step through your fear into a new future.
4. Protect your priorities
Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so that you can say ‘yes’ to the best.
– John C. Maxwell
Ever said yes to something and then found yourself feeling resentful, or burned out from doing it? In today’s busy world many demands are made on our time and most of us struggle with saying no.
When we try to be all things to all people and taking on too much is one of the ways we limit our happiness.
In contrast, happy people know each moment offers them a chance to spend their time, attention and love on what matters most. They honor their gifts and value their priorities. When no is the best answer, they not only say it gracefully, they feel okay doing so.
How can you phrase a graceful ‘no’ to protect your priorities ?
Next time you need to protect your own precious time, you could say something like, ‘I’m really honored you asked me, but I just don’t have the time to take you up on your offer. Thanks so much for thinking of me, though.’
To be able to say yes to what brings them happiness and fulfilment, you also need to say no to protect your priorities.
5. Dedicate your life to something bigger than yourself
The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times. The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.
– Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Happy people dedicate their lives to something bigger than themselves, something challenging and meaningful. They spend years honing their skills, stretching just beyond their comfort zones.
When you become deeply involved in this way, you forget yourself and experience a heightened awareness of each moment. Much like what occurs during meditation, you can reach a state of harmony, flow and ease.
These activities give your live meaning and make you happy in a deeper, long-lasting way.
6. Speak out for positive change
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
– Margaret Mead
It’s natural to want to fit in. We are all influenced by others.
And it can be a good thing.
If you’re trying to lose weight, being around someone committed to the same goal can truly help. Want to improve your skills at work? Finding a mentor makes the process a lot easier.
Fitting in this way increases our happiness.
But then, there are those other times. Someone at work tells an off-color joke, or your new boyfriend’s brother hides a put-down in an amusing story about another person.
Suddenly, fitting in feels awkward.
And while saying nothing and letting the moment pass may feel like the safest route to take, it won’t increase your happiness. In fact, it will lower it.
Happy folks tend to speak out if they feel uncomfortable about a situation. If you want to be happier, stay true to who you are and honor your values and beliefs, even if it means not fitting in.
7. Make mistakes
Sucking at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.”
– Adventure Time (the cartoon)
Think about the engaging, magnetic people you’ve met in your life. Maybe they had a talent you really admired, an air of confidence about them, or they did things you could only dream of.
Odds are, they made some huge, slap-your-forehead mistakes along the way. Yet they weren’t afraid to admit their blunders; they may have even turned them into funny stories.
The most joyous amongst us know that lasting happiness isn’t about playing it safe. They’re curious and adventurous by nature.
Here’s how you can do it…
Be willing to take risks, explore and grow, even if it means forgoing comfort or momentary happiness.
Even if it means failing.
Because the most awesome things in life reside just outside what’s comfortable and familiar.
Are You Ready to Create Some Happy Habits of Your Own?
What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.
– Ralph Marston
The world has too many people who are just going through the motions. People who do what society tells them to.
What the world needs are more remarkably happy people. People who light up their corner of the world and lift up others.
Because happiness is an energy that enhances the lives of those around us.
If you want to live a remarkably happy life, one that leaves the world a better place for you having been in it, you can’t just read about remarkably happy people.
Being happy isn’t a philosophy to be analyzed or debated, it’s a way of life.
You have to live it.
That means accepting what’s outside of your control, instead of breaking yourself against it.
It means budgeting your time and money for things that make your life more meaningful. And saying no to things that don’t – even when it’s uncomfortable.
It means stepping out of your comfort zone. Scheduling time to dedicate your talents and strengths to something bigger than yourself.
You have to realize you’re in charge of your happiness. And, by taking steps to become happier, you will brighten up so much more than just your own life.
These seven habits of remarkably happy people are your steps toward a happier life.
So, take that first step.
The world is waiting.
What do you think about these habits? Please share in the comments.
About the Author: Catherine Smith is a physical therapist and wellness coach who helps women age well and joyfully. If you’d like to learn more about ageing well, subscribe to my health magazine today.