Happiness: A How to Guide

December 24, 2013

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Photo Credit:africa

Qualities To Lead A Happy Life

Over the years, I have received all sorts of advice regarding how to be happy. From “do what you love” to “don’t sweat the small stuff” everyone seems to have some idea of how to live a happy and fulfilling life. While I don’t have all of the answers, I have realized some of the qualities necessary to lead a happy life. Read on to hear what they are!  

1. Gratitude

Sometimes when life consumes us, we forget how many things we have to be thankful for. I know I am guilty of this. Over the past three years I have definitely had those times where I have gotten home from a tough day of classes and in a state of exhaustion and crankiness, sat around thinking about all of the things that was terrible about that day. This brought me no happiness. So how did I overcome this? Whenever I am feeling down and feel like I have all of the reasons in the world to complain, I think of 5 things in my life I have to be thankful for. And guess what? It is never hard to come up with five. They don’t have to be big things. It can be something as simple as being grateful to be alive to experience that cruddy day. Thinking of all of the good things in my life almost always puts in perspective the fact that despite the bad things that happened that day, I have it good.  

2. Awareness 

Be aware of the level of importance of the events occurring in your life. A failed test won’t ruin your life nor will not getting that job you have dreamed of, but it can be hard to see this. So how do you gauge the level of importance of a specific event? What I like to do is think of the absolute worst thing that can happen as a result of a situation occurring. For example, if I am anxious about failing a test I think to myself, “What is the worst thing that can happen if I fail?” While the answer might not be pretty, typically when I do this I am reminded that although it might throw a wrench in my plans, I will still be left with people who love me, friends and good health. In my opinion, these things are far more important than good grades or a dream job.

3. Kindness 

Kindness is so important when it comes to happiness. I can’t claim to be kind 24/7, I am human and there are definitely times I look back on and wish I had been nicer. However, I find that the times in my life when I am the happiest are those when I am being kind and radiating love. It sounds corny, but it’s true. I once heard a quote along the lines of  “kindness is always a choice even when fondness is not”. The concept that even if we aren’t necessarily fond of a person we always can choose to be kind really spoke to me. I try to remember this everyday. It can be tough, but each day that I wake up and am kind to everyone, no matter how much or little I enjoy their company, I feel so much better than when I’m not. Everyone needs kindness. And you know what? No matter how much kindness you share with others, there will still be enough for you too. That is the beauty of it. 

4. Openness 

If you want to be happy, you have to be open to it! For a long time I struggled with this. I spent so much time focusing on the difficult parts of my life that I didn’t think that being truly happy was something I could do at the time. That would come down the road when I graduated, had a job, was married and settled. This idea that happiness was something for the future was flawed and prevented me from realizing all the great things that were happening in my life at that time. Happiness, to some extent, is a choice. Happiness could be screaming and knocking at your door, but if you don’t let it in you won’t experience it. So open yourself up to happiness. Find happiness in the little things. It’s a rainy day and you have a test? Awesome! You are alive and get to experience it, and that in itself is a reason to be happy.

No matter how great or terrible a day you are having, I hope these tips help you to make it a little bit better! Happiness is within all of our reach and each and every one of us deserves to feel it.


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