how to be happy

How To Be Happy

My clearest memory of myself as a teenager is one of me sitting in my therapist’s office and crying as I explained that all I ever wanted was to wake up wanting to be alive, 28 days out of the month instead of 2 or 3 days, which was the case back then.

In those days I was so depressed, that it was difficult for me to imagine being happy, but I could imagine wanting to be alive.

 

what does it take to be happy?

 

Matt Killingsworth has been trying to answer one question: what makes us happy?

He studied over 15,000 people from over 80 countries of all ages, races, income and religions and had them keep track of their emotions during the day.

He found that when we’re most unhappy when our mind wanders and we fail to remain present and focused on the here and now.

He found that focusing on “happy thoughts” when you’re doing something else in the present doesn’t make you happy.

The only way to be happy, is to be aware of this moment, even if this moment suck (yes even if the present moment sucks).

I know that there’s validity to this conclusion because I started wanting to live, when I started meditating.

Meditation taught me to remain present and since then, I’ve never thought of suicide as an option.

 

 

The question isn’t how to be happy but how to remain present

 

If Matt Killingsworth found that mind wandering causes unhappiness but even so, he found that people are very rarely present, they are only present 53% of the time.

Mind wandering is actually a way of life for most of us.

 

1. Meditate

 

Meditation physically changes the structure of our brain.

It trains the mind to remain present by focusing our attention on our breath or the sensations in our body.

Meditation teaches us how to be happy by opening us to our inner world so we can start to look inward for the answers.

It's a tried and tested technique that has have been around for as long as we’ve been conscious of our own existence.

My experience of meditation is one of awe and gratitude because it changed my life forever and gave me insights on how to be happy.

 

2. Change your thinking

 

Byron Katie says the fastest way to give yourself stress is to give yourself a future.

When you start to think of all the many ways that life can go wrong in the future, you’ve started to add to your stress.

Obsessing about the future not only distracts you from the present but it also starts creating the future you’re so busy stressing about.

A wise man once asked Gottham Buddha how to be happy and wise , the Buddha answered. “In your tasting let the only be tasting, in your seeing let there only be seeing, in your hearing let there only be hearing.”

Let your grief be grief and your sadness be sadness without carrying them in your soul for a life time and without adding anything else to them.

 

3. Do yoga

 

Full disclosure: I’m a yoga fanatic.

Yoga is way more than physical exercise; it’s a spiritual practice that forces you to focus on your breathing and your body and may increase grey matter.

It can teach you to just be in this moment and in your body, which teaches you to be present.

 

What do you think it takes to be happy?

Let me know in the comments section below

How To Be More Enthusiastic

I only had two goals when I went to college:

  1. To live on my own and be away from my family
  2. Smoke weed in dingy bars as I recite poetry

The minute I arrived on campus, I added another goal to my list: become a Goth.

The last goal just sort of happened and it kept happening for 2 years, until I decided to dye my hair orange.

Getting a degree and getting a job weren’t on my list of things to accomplish in 4 years.

You may be getting the picture that I was the least enthusiastic person about life or adulthood.

You're right.

 

Why enthusiasm matters

 

After graduation – I was hit with a brutal reality – I couldn’t spend my life smoking weed and sneering at everything.

To create the life I wanted, I had to get people to buy into my vision and for people to buy into my vision; I had to be passionate and enthusiastic.

Most of my adult life has been about learning to be happy and learning to be enthusiastic.

 

How To Cultivate Enthusiasm   

 

 1. Be authentic

 

Have you ever noticed how pretending to be something you’re not doesn’t make you excited about life or the situation you’re trying to hide?

All the energy you use pretending and telling half lies drains you of your enthusiasm for life.

When you’re authentic and living in line with your values and your life’s purpose you actually want to get up in the morning and live.

 

2. Remain present

 

Often we’re so busy creating stories about the future or the past that we forget to just be in this moment and see the beauty in the now.

Take a few moments a day to marvel at miracle of you and your existence – the fact that you breathe and you can read this.

 

3. Laugh at least once a day

 

Put this on your schedule. Honestly laugh about your current money situation – find jokes or explore the absurdity of it all.

Just like the simple act of smiling makes you happy, then the simple act of laughing will make you happy.

According to the two factor theory of emotion – our behaviour has the power to impact our emotions.

We equate joy and happiness with laughter so when we laugh about something we automatically tell ourselves that we’re happy.

 

4. Play

 

Stuart Brown at the TED Conference in 2009, spoke about the importance of play in stress reduction and problem solving.

Brown talks about how he started off interviewing serial killers and found that they didn’t get to play as kids.

He also interviewed 6,000 people and found that not being able to play in their childhood has stopped them from growing into happy adults.

So go out and play.

 

5. Practice gratitude

 

Gratitude is the most powerful emotion because it refocuses our thinking from lack to abundance.

When we feel grateful it’s because we’re aware of the blessings we have in our lives which makes it easier to be more enthusiastic.

 

What how do you cultivate enthusiasm in your life?

Let me know in the comments section below.