No medicine cures what happiness cannot.Gabriel García Márquez
I am sure that your goal in life is to be happy or attain happiness. This is because human beings try and look for happiness in whatever they do. If you know somebody who is always happy and content with life, he has a great life.
But there is a problem. You are looking for happiness in all the wrong places and wrong things. Many of you may seek happiness in money. I am not sure how, but we are conditioned to want more money, latest car, latest phone….
But happiness eludes you. I was no different. Prior to getting my priority straight, I wanted to own the best things, the latest gadgets, the latest car. These desires led to mismanagement in other areas of my life. I have turned myself around. But it was not money which turned me around.
I discovered some peculiar things in my life which I feel are the secrets to happiness lying in plain sight. But most of us are unable to recognize these:
Secret to Happiness #1: Positive Thinking and Positive Mindset
POSITIVE: The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.winston churchill
The year 2013 was a year that changed my entire course of life. I used to be anxious, had low self-esteem, was a negative person. Then I met a person named Junior (name changed) while on a trip to Brazil and his story completely changed my life.
Junior grew up in one of the favelas in Rio Di Janeiro without his parents by his side. You can just imagine how difficult it would have been growing up in such an environment.
But Junior did not give up. He beat the odds through sheer determination and positive thinking and is now a successful entrepreneur. One behavior of Junior came out very clear. He always thought about positive outcomes. His language, the words he used, the way he responded relayed positivity.
At that moment itself, I made up my mind that I will not delve further in negativity. I picked myself up from where I was and was able to completely turned around my life. The words you use to speak to yourself, the words you use in your thoughts make all the difference.
So instead of being negative, use following self-talk:
- I can do it.
- The more I practice, the better I get. I just need some help
- I am smart.
- I am a problem solver.
- I provide great solutions to tricky situations.
The words have the power to influence the outcome. Always use positive, energetic words. Do this and see the changes that will occur in your life.
Secret to Happiness #2: Promote Good Relationships
The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.audrey hepburn
You may undermine this. But the quality of your relationships has the most effect on the quality of your life. We have plenty of relationships in our life. Spouse, children, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, strangers, collegues and so on.
One of the key components of a happy life are the positive relationships that you have. If you evaluate yourself, you would see how self centred you have become. The ‘WE’ has lost ti ‘I’. For me having healthy relationships with everyone around me is key to success and peace in life.
You may have everything in life. But if you have low relationship quality, you know how it feels. Humans are a social animal. We yearn for company of other humans. This is how we have evolved. This is how we have survived throughout history, by supporting each other from the dangers in the nature.
Somehow, the relationship fitness is missing these days in most of us. We have taken these for granted.
How to thrive in your relationships?
- Be honest
- Support each other
- Don’t fake it
- Be there
- Help in whatever way you can
- Always think about the good in them
Secret to Happiness #3: Doing Good to Others
Well done is better than well said.benjamin franklin
There is a strange power in helping others. I see around the world so much goodness and most of it is voluntary. The best form of help is voluntary.
I am reminded of Mother Teresa. All she wanted to do was good to others. Her purpose was so strong that today, Missionaries of Charity exists just for others!!
Now, you do not have to go to that level. Doing good to others doesn’t need to involve leaving everything behind and being a missionary. Start with something small. A smile, your time to help out a colleague, a friend, a stranger in whatever way you can.
I also remember my grandmother who was a great giver. People came to her seeking help and I have never seen her saying NO to anyone who came home hungry, penniless. She always made sure that whoever came went back with food, clothes and so on.
Doing good to others without the need for recognition is the best quality you can have. So, if you do get an opportunity to volunteer for a non-profit, do so. I am sure your happiness levels will shoot through the roof.
Secret to Happiness #4: Having a Purpose or Passion in Life
He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.Nietzsche
Ask yourself this question:
What is my purpose on this planet?
Are you able to get some answers? Are you clear on your purpose in life? What are you here for?
When you find your purpose, I am sure you will be in a higher state of mind completely focussed on what your purpose is.
For example, one of friends who is a stand up comedian and his purpose is:
To bring smiles on people’s face.
Such a simple purpose yet so focussed. All he does is make people laugh to his jokes and acts.
When you have found your purpose, no one can stop you achieving whatever you want in your life. If it is hard for you to find your purpose, start writing your story in a journal. See what you are particularly interested in doing. Meditate on this and I am sure, you will find your purpose. If you do not have a purpose, don’t worry. Find one now.
Focussing on your purpose is a sureshot way to happiness. Do what is important to achieve your purpose.
Secret to Happiness #5: Practise Gratitude
You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ever since the time I started practising gratitude, my life has completely changed. I have become more positive, I have become happier.
I follow gratitude journaling. I offer my gratitude to all the small and big things in my life. Following are some of the ways gratitude journaling has helped me:
- Gratitude journaling helped me reduce anxiety
- Gratitude journaling helped me reduce stress
- Gratitude journaling helped me reduce anger
- Gratitude journaling helped me increase self esteem
- Gratitude journaling helped me realise my inner potential
- Gratitude journaling helped me be a better person
- Gratitude journaling helped me with bettering my relationships
- Gratitude journaling helped me being mindful
…and numerous other benefits.
There are various ways to practise gratitude. Keep gratitude at the entrance of your heart and always be aware of your gifts in life. Apart from increasing your happiness, this will help you be a better human being.
If you are looking hard to find happiness, don’t look anywhere else. Start with your own self. Happiness is right with you. You have to only realize and acknowledge it is there with you. Don’t chase happiness. Welcome happiness into your life with the secrets to happiness I shared here.
Once you have at least practised 5% of the above, I am sure you will see positive results in your life. I am speaking from experience. I am sure you will find your sweet spot.
May you be well. May you be happy.
- Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama and Howard C Cutler
- Authentic Happiness by Martin EP Seligman
- The Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben
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