Exactly how do we pursue happiness? We know happiness is far more than just money, fame or power. There are lots of people who have all three who are not especially happy. What are the secrets to living a happy, spiritually successful life? Are there reliable road maps to happiness?
If you want to live a happy life, study happy people. Observe what they do, understand why it works so well and then adopt their behaviors and beliefs. We can choose to pursue and cultivate habits and skills we know will lead to happy, spiritually successful lives.
This is the approach we used to develop How To Live A Happy Life - 101 Ways To Be Happier. Here are some secrets from the habitually happy people we studied and interviewed:
Cultivate a sense of fun and share it with everyone you meet. Habitually happy people truly try to have a good time all of the time. Critics cry, “Don’t be silly, you can’t expect to have a good time all of the time!” Habitually Happy people reply, “I can!” Or, “with an attitude like that you will never be really Up or happy!”
Exercise your freedom to choose happiness. Decide who you want to be, what sort of person you want to become. Define yourself as a happy, spiritually successful person. Let that goal become a sort of role that is real and authentic for you. Try to be your best, spiritually successful self all of the time. If we don’t consciously decide what sort of person we want to be, our environment and experiences define our identity and our destiny for us.
Rebel against people or situations that try to drag your spirits down. Don’t hand control of your thoughts, actions, feelings and well-being over to annoying people or outside circumstances that can rob your happiness. Cultivate an indomitably strong, independent, positive good spirit.
Choose emotional independence. Decide how you want to think and feel. There's no rule that says just because something bad happens, you have to feel sad. Remember, you must be at your best to do your best. Choose actions and attitudes that help you to succeed and be happy.
Make Goodness a Guiding Goal. We are amazed how truly happy genuinely good people are. “Goodness for goodness sake,” one said. Habitually happy people are extraordinarily kind, caring and compassionate. The Dutch proverb “Happy people are never wicked” was proven by our research.
Give freely and without strings attached. Habitually happy people are genuinely altruistic, they do good for the joy of doing good. They give without strings attached, they do not give just in order to get. Goodness is it’s own reward. They rarely pass up an opportunity to be kind when it costs them or risks them little.
Don’t be a people pleaser. Enjoy sharing joy and making other people happy, but don’t depend on other people’s approval to be happy yourself. Feel good by knowing and appreciating your achievements and all the things you do well.
Take care of yourself, value yourself. Habitually happy people value their time, their talents and their resources. They continually seek to develop themselves, strengthen their skills and gain a greater understanding of the world and the people around them. They value other people's time and resources as much as they value their own.
Be adventuresome. Habitually happy people continually explore, try new things and do new things to stay fresh and to continually experience difference and change. It helps them grow and maintain their enthusiasm and positive spirits. One commented, “I get bored with the same old stuff, I want each day to be new, different, something special.” They try to make each day special.
Don’t beat yourself up. Habitually happy people move from problems to solutions quickly. They know time spent dwelling on problems tends to reinforce mistakes they want to avoid. They don’t condemn themselves for errors. They channel their angst over mistakes toward finding solutions or rectifying problems. They do not intentionally hurt themselves.
Avoid The Fault Finding Feel Goods - Criticism, blame, ridicule, bigotry, all falsely elevate our sense of power and self worth by finding fault with something else. These feel goods are fed by a negative focus. You cannot be truly happy by continually finding fault, focusing on what's wrong, judging or criticizing. Habitually happy people don’t complain and they avoid people who do.
Love is an active verb. Love is an action, it is something we decide to do. It is an emotion we can choose to feel and to project and share with others. Love can be expressed in everything we do. It’s not just something that happens to us. Love propels happiness. The more we love, the happier we become.
Don’t be a snob, value everyone. Happy people don’t have to feel better than others in order to feel good about themselves. They try to find something of interest and value in everyone they meet. They try to touch each person they meet with a smile and a bright, positive spirit.
Continually celebrate success. Habitually happy people continually celebrate success, their own and other people’s successes. This fuels everyone’s positive energy, confidence, desire to do well and propels people to achieve more. Celebrating success provides positive role models.