1.Do Good Things for Others
One easy way is to help someone else.
“Do something for another person,” says Patricia Rosse, who goes by the name of The Protocol Coach. “It only takes seconds a day but yields hours of good feelings for you and the recipient.”
Dr. Colleen Long, author of the book ‘Happiness in B.A.L.A.N.C.E.’ agrees. “We must focus on others to develop a pure and sustained feeling of well-being. As we become other-focused, we begin to regain a sense of happiness ourselves.”
And Ronald Kaufman, author of “Anatomy of Success” concurs, “One of the best ways to be happy is to be of service to others. “He who enriches others, enriches himself.” Doing volunteer work and empowering others is one of the best ways to be happy,” says Kaufman.
And this idea of doing something good can be something small and inexpensive – like letting someone go in front of you in the store.
2. Stay Out of Other People’s Problems
Another easy way to be happy is to remember to mind your own business.
“In the past, I found myself embroiled in the dramas of family and friends and felt it was incumbent upon me to solve their dilemmas, “ says Renee Duane, author of “Choosing for Bliss, Reclaiming Your Inherent Joy.” “But my attempts at intervention robbed my family and friends of a valuable learning experience – that of experiencing the consequences of their choices and it robbed me of my joy and contentment,” she advises.
You can stay on your side of the line, which allows you to be happy while being empathetic to your friend who is complaining about her inconsiderate boss.
3. Say You’re Sorry
Learn to apologize.
You can improve your relationships and your happiness with the words “I am sorry.” These words imply “I was wrong. You were right. Please forgive me,” says Frank King, speaker and coach.
This works great with your kids, but they need to hear you use the expression first before they’ll start using it too. “Sorry I yelled this morning. It wasn’t your fault, I was just tired from having a late night.”
Don’t forget the importance of humor.
“Don’t be uptight so much. Learn that life is what you make of it, so remember to laugh,” says Coy Long, CEO and master matchmaker of HOTLANTA Matchmakers.
Laughter really is the best medicine and a great way to make you feel happy whether that means watching a funny movie or telling a joke.
5. Change What You Say To Yourself
Be aware of your own self-talk.
“Change the messages you repeat to yourself from those that are destructive to those that are uplifting and the resulting sunny outlook will be self-perpetuating,” says Terri Benincasa, a business and life coach in Florida.
There’s a saying “Whatever you say to yourself, you’ll go on proving to yourself,” so if you’re telling yourself that you’re happy, then you’ll find things to prove to yourself that you really are! It then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Knowing this why not pick a couple of good affirmations right now, like “I am a person that people turn to,” or “I am a person that is good at seeing a project through.”
6. Have a bad memory!
Learn to forget when someone slights you.
“I believe one of the essential ingredients for happiness is a bad memory! Don’t hold grudges and forget about the bad things and put them behind you – don’t keep replaying them in your mind,” says my colleague and friend, Ed Walsh, a journalist, age 50.
Sounds like good advice. Who hasn’t inadvertently hurt another and wants to be forgiven? You can be the one to do it first. You’ll be happy you took a forgiving stance.
7. Choose to be Happy
Sounds almost too simple, but did you know you can simply choose to be happy?
Abraham Lincoln said “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Ric Morgan, author of The Keys: The Textbook to a Successful Life, a Pulizer-nominated book agrees. “It boils down to this: based on your thoughts and choices, if you want to be happy, be happy. If you’re not happy now, change your mind and make different choices.”
Wendy Young, a child and family therapist couldn’t agree more. “Happiness is a choice and has nothing to do with what happens to us or around us. Our attitude and our ability to find the good, to be a Sherlock Holmes of Happiness, as I like to call it, is what sustains us in the darkest of hours.”
So stop looking for happiness outside, especially in material things. Know that real happiness can only be found inside yourself.
8. Have Good Relationships
Research studies show that having good social relationships is one of the strongest predictors of happiness.
“Our brains are hard-wired to relate to people. On that we have no choice. And we pay a high price indeed for thinking we can opt out of relationships,” says Jackie O’Neil a psychotherapist based in Minnesota.
But what if you haven’t seen old friends in a while? Reconnecting with friends on Facebook can be a simple way to start. Or try making new friends.
A simple and free way to increase your own sense of happiness is to meditate.
Try to get 20 minutes for 3 sessions a week. Find a quiet place and begin to breathe deeply – four counts in and six counts out. Concentrate on your breathing. As thoughts roll in, just observe them as if you were watching leaves on a river. Let them float by but suspend judgment. Build up to 20 minutes and after about a week you’ll notice you’re more present in daily activities.
If time is an issue for you, make an appointment on your calendar, just as you would anything else. Then stick to that appointment. If anyone asks, say “I have an appointment with my most important client.”
10. Give Away What You Want
It might sound contradictory, but to get what you want, first give that thing away.
“Want more love in your life? Appreciation? Recognition? Respect? Give them to others and they’ll flow right back to you, “ says C.J. Scarlet, founder of the Healing Tree Foundation.
Try it, you might be surprised. Even doing these things without expecting something in return will make you happier because it then feeds into the idea of Doing Something for Others.
11. Foster an Attitude of Gratitude
Tempting though it might seem, don’t focus on what you don’t have, focus on what you DO have.
“Before I fall asleep each night, I spend five minutes going over the things that happened that day that I should be feeling grateful for,” says Barry Maher, author of “Filling the Glass” cited as one of the Seven Essential Popular Business books” by Today’s Librarian magazine. It’s often said that whatever you focus on expands, so if you focus on things going right, a lot more of things going right will happen for you.
“Yes. Keep track of what’s going right,” says writer and coach, Suzanne Zoglio, PhD. “When life feels like a series of losses, we tend to focus nonstop on what’s gone wrong. Instead, take time every day to reflect on what’s right with your life. Research shows that if you write down three things every day that went well, you’ll boost your happiness.”
What if you don’t think you have much to be grateful for? Try simple things like: your car, your telephone, your family. Then build from there.
12. Give Others the Benefit of the Doubt
Try to be less sensitive and don’t take things so personally.
“If someone cuts you off in traffic, tell yourself the person has a very, very sick puppy in the front seat and they’re rushing to get the dog to the vet. If you tell yourself that, you’ll be a lot more patient and understanding. After all, your anger doesn’t hurt anyone but yourself, so why give away your power, why give away your happiness?” says Jim Hallowes who works with www.highlysensitivepeople.com
Understand that most people aren’t usually doing things just to get you annoyed. Give them the benefit of the doubt and you’ll feel happier inside.
13. Stop Trying to Make People The Way You’d Like Them To Be
Release what other people do or say.
“Recognize that everyone has the right to be who and what they are, even if that means they are terrible, mean-spirited people. They are living their lives how they chose. Let them go and you’ll no longer be bothered by what they do, even if you have to see them every day, says Laine Cunningham, author of the upcoming book, “Seven Sisters.”
If your colleague is difficult, be glad you don’t have to live with them as well. You might as well leave them to be who they are. Why sacrifice your happiness for a lost cause anyway?
By following the easy steps above, you can begin to feel happier in your life right now.