Happiness isn’t a secret code that needs to be cracked. Its a mindset. Its not about money or fame or any ‘thing’, its about attitude. Its not about navel gazing, Zen anything, or finding God.
Happy people seek out the world. They chase adventures and are willing to see mishaps as adventures. Joy is something that comes from outlook, not the environment.
Here are some tips to help you live your life with a spring in your step and a smile on your face.
1. Think about being old, you are sitting in a rocking chair contemplating your life, what do you think of the ways you spent your days? Did you live every day like it was your last? Did you embrace change, adventure and the small things that make the world profoundly beautiful? Did you seek out joy? Did you look for the good in every situation? This is what happy people do. Now perhaps some of these perceptions are due to brain chemistry, but not all of them. Take a look at small things in your life and how they impact your mood. There is a saying “life is short”, it is meant to show us how trivial many things are. This may take work, but if every day you find just one more thing that made you smile, that rocking chair contemplation will be far more rewarding.
2. Turn off the TV. No one looked back on their lives and wished they had spent more of it watching TV. Go outside, walk the dog, watch ants, or lizards or squirrels, or maybe play Monopoly with your children. Action creates joy, and joy creates memories. You are building a bank of memories, you will not do it unless you walk out your door and into the world. Meet people, gain hobbies, ditch hobbies and try new ones. Life should be like one of thos sample appetizer plates, try a little bit of everything. There is a reason people make bucket lists.
3. Work is not more important than anything. Again, when you are sitting in the rocking chair contemplating your life, what are the odds that you will say “I should have spent more time at work.”? Of course you need money and have reponsibilities, but keep your happiness always at the forefront, never on the back burner. And by the way, if you hate your job, begin looking for a new one. Life is too short to spend 40 hours a week watching the clock tick by, that’s your clock that’s ticking.
4. Smile. Yep, smiling and laughing release endorphins that make you happier, its like self medication, and since a smile tells others that you are friendly, you will find people treat you with more warmth. Talk about win-win. Smiling makes you look approachable, people will be more willing to speak with you, laughter does the same thing. You want to find out why the world seems to be filled with assholes? Try spending the day smiling at people and treating them like they are on your team, and guess what, the assholes largely dissapear.
5. Redefine adventure. There is a great quote by G. K. Chesterton, “adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered”. Live this and your life already improves. While you are swearing at your flat tire in the freezing down pour, consider what a great and funny story this will be tomorrow. Every day we are hit with a million slights, we can either count them up and hold them as proof of an evil universe, or we can ignore the small ones and embrace the large ones.
6. Stop taking everything personally. The rude guy who cut you off in traffic, guess what, he has no idea who you are. Its not about you. The world is random, and people have crappy days and they take them out on others. Waiters are slow, food is cold, spousal units are tired. Its not about you. Get over yourself. Stop personalizing random acts of selfishness.
Try each of these tips once a day, and guarenteed your world will get better. Change takes time and is difficult. Do not look for signs of failure where there are none, the universe will not change, it is you who must change. Best of luck, and remember, Life is short.