There is one thing that I’m certain of and that is happiness is a choice. You don’t need to be born with a “positivity gene” in order to be happy and you don’t need to have everything you want either. Happiness is accomplished through a positive frame of mind and proactive happiness seeking actions. It is a skill that can be learned. Read on to learn the secrets that happy people know.
Secret 1: They don’t hold grudges
Holding a grudge against someone is like letting them live rent-free in your head. Kick the jerk out! Many times people don’t want to let go of angry feelings because they think the other person doesn’t deserve it. Happy people know that holding a grudge doesn’t hurt anyone but themselves. Practice forgiveness and actually letting go. You will find that yourself feeling lighter without keeping your head full of hostile feelings.
Secret 2: They let the small stuff go
Problems and annoyances always seem bigger in the moment. If you are upset about something, ask yourself, will this matter a year from now? If not, move on. Don’t waste time being irritated by things that don’t even matter in the grand scheme of life. Give yourself a set amount of time to be upset over it (keep it brief, like 2 minutes) and then change the tone by doing or thinking about something fun.
Secret 3: They appreciate what they have
This is a great quote to keep in mind: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of what they have.” No matter how much you have, it will never be enough; there is always more to have. Happy people know to appreciate and utilize what they do have instead of dwelling on what they don’t have. Any time you find yourself down and thinking you don’t have enough, take a few minutes to take inventory of all the things you have that you are appreciative of. Don’t forget to include things that you might think are basic but that others would kill to have, like the ability to walk.
Secret 4: They find the fun in the mundane
Let’s face it, not every single aspect of life is fun. In fact, most of life can be down right boring. Happy people figure out ways to find the fun in even the most mundane of moments. Happiness in life isn’t all about the big-ticket happiness moments, like a vacation. It’s all about the day-to-day little stuff. For an entire week, challenge yourself to make one moment an hour fun. You’ll have to get creative with this. For example, a friend of mine told me she used to make silly faces when she brushed her teeth to liven up the chore. After a week of consciously attempting to find the fun in things, it will start coming more naturally.
Secret 5: They realize that they can have whatever they want
When happy people want something, they don’t get caught up in the reasons why they “cannot” have it. They know that there’s always a way to get what they want. It might take a new perspective and some creative problem solving, but like the saying goes, “where there’s a will there’s a way.”
Secret 6: They don’t get caught up with comparisons
Imagine this scenario. Out of nowhere you find out you won the lottery! $500 in your wallet! You’re feeling really good. Now imagine your next-door neighbor also won the lottery, but she got $1000. Not feeling quite as good about that $500 anymore are you? Now you might be angry, wondering why she got more than you, and you start thinking about all that you could do with that extra cash. Happy people know that comparisons are not always an accurate picture of current situation. Winning a random $500 was a good day before the comparison started. Don’t let comparisons ruin an otherwise great thing.
Secret 7: They take credit for the good things that happen to them
When you subscribe to the belief that good things happen due to luck this can sabotage your happiness. What happy people know is to take credit for the good things that happen to them. This provides a sense of control. If it happened once, good things can happen again because you will MAKE them happen.
Secret 8: They live in the moment
Much too often in life we realize how good things were or how much fun we had after the time has passed instead of being happy in that moment. Happy people enjoy the moment as it’s happening. This doesn’t mean that happy people are less busy than others or that they meditate all day long. Being in the moment is a skill that takes practice. Throughout the day aim to be mindful during whatever activity you are doing, even if it’s mundane. For example, while eating your food focus on the flavors you tasting. When walking, even if it’s from your car to the office door, pay attention to what’s in your surroundings. When participating in an enjoyable activity, take a few minutes to notice how much fun you’re having. Over time this will become second nature and you won’t have to focus so much on it.
Secret 9: They learn from the success of others
Instead of wallowing in jealousy, happy people make productive use of those feelings. If you are starting to get a case of the green-eyed monster, take note of those feelings. It will help you tune into something that you are craving. Then go one step further and seek advice from the person who has what you want.
Secret 10: They tune into their feelings
The only person who knows you the best and knows what’s best for you is you. Happy people know this. They know how to tune into their feelings and most importantly, to trust their feelings. Everyone starts off with a good sense of intuition. If you watch little kids you will see how much more confident they are in what they do. However, with time and with others telling us we are wrong, we start to lose faith in trusting our feelings. Try this exercise. For the next few weeks, when it comes to making decisions over insignificant things, such as what to have for lunch, go with your first instinct. Don’t question it and enjoy the choice you made. This will help you in the future to reduce actions of indecisiveness. Also, pay attention to how things make you feel. After engaging in an activity, being told something, hanging out with someone, ask yourself, “how do I feel?” Be honest about the answer. Try not to judge your answer. If you feel sad or angry, it’s okay; it’s just a feeling. Happy people let themselves feel whatever they are feeling. The difference is that after recognizing the feeling, they move on. The more you know yourself the happier you will be.