Happy life skills.


By David Joel Miller

Want a happier life? Learn these skills.

Happy child

Happy child
Photo courtesy of Flickr (Ben.Millett)

A happy life does not just happen by chance. Happiness is not a commodity that can be bought with large quantities of money. Having good skills to manage your money can make life less stressful. Having good happy life skills can increase the level of happiness in any life. Here are some happy life skills you may need to practice until they become automatic parts of your life.

Treasure life’s imperfections to increase your happiness.

Some scratches, dents and dings do not render a life worthless, defective or ruined. Those imperfections, far from being flaws, are the things that make your life unique. Treasure your life’s imperfections. Those trials have made you who you are.

Accept that sometimes things happen that are not in the plan, experiences you would have preferred to avoid, but continue on your life journey, lessons learned. You are in the process of becoming a valuable antique.

For more happiness end things that are over.

Cluttering up your life with things that no longer meet your needs takes up room that is needed for the new things in life.

If your job has become boring or stressful now is the time to look for another. Do you have habits that served you well in your teen or college days? Are some of these habits getting in the way of living a happy adult life? Weed them out.

Are their friends that are harmful? Relationships that are toxic? It may be time to move on and make new friendships.

Do you have habits you have outgrown? Time to declutter your life and make room for new experiences.

Don’t keep fixing things that are beyond repair.

It is common for people, especially people in early recovery to keep fixing a car when it would be far cheaper to get rid of it and replace it with a new ride. Learn what can be fixed economically and what needs to be replaced. Also learn what you or a friend can fix and when it will be cheaper in the long run to get the repairs done by a professional.

Stop trying to control the uncontrollable.

Most of the things in our lives are out of our control. We can prepare ourselves, we can buy insurance or try to reduce risk, but in the end most things happen whether we try to control them or not.

The majority of the things people worry about, 75% by one estimate, never happen. Spend your time, money and effort working to improve things that have a high chance of success.

Worrying that a family member will get sick will not keep them healthy. Getting your children vaccinated, living a healthy lifestyle and exercise, those will improve your odds.

For maximum happiness, restrict your worrying to only a few high probability events. Better yet, skip the worry and just do the things you need to do to maximize your chances of success when rough times come along.

You will be happier if you admit your faults and mistakes.

Hiding your mistakes takes a lot of effort. Happy people are able to admit when they are wrong. Recognized your error and move on. Do not waste time on making excuses. It does not matter who else contributed to your mistake.

Learn from the things at which you are less than perfect. Improve your game. If you miss the shot or the deadline, accept the responsibility. In the long run you will have less to worry about and will be happier.

Do not volunteer to be the victim – not everything is your fault.

Do not accept the blame for things that are not your fault. Do not apologize for what others do. Don’t keep putting yourself in situations where you try to rescue others. Trying to control the uncontrollable sets you up to live the unhappy victim life.

Stretching your comfort zone enlarges happiness.

Avoiding risks does not keep you safe. It keeps you living in a very small place worrying about what might happen. Stretch that comfort zone. You do not necessarily need to demolish it and move to the middle of a war zone. What you should be doing is stretching it out a little each day of your life.

Happy people are able to take some risks, manageable risks, and they enjoy new experiences.

For more happiness like yourself – do not call yourself names.

Think well of yourself. Do not call yourself names or put yourself down. There is no evidence that calling yourself stupid will make you smarter. What it can do is make you feel bad about yourself. Happy people like themselves and their life regardless of the situation they may be in right now.

Parents who only see the flaws in their children raise kids who do not believe they can do very much. Use positive affirmations, tell yourself that you can. If you did not get positive strokes growing up, learn to give them to yourself as an adult. The result will be that you will accomplish more and be happier along the way.

Accept that things take the time they take.

Cut yourself some slack. Do not tell yourself that you should have more or be more at this point in your life. Some things take longer than others. Plenty of very successful people did not find their niche in life until they are older.

I have seen couples meet and develop wonderful relationships in their retirement years. It is never too late to create the happy life you want. Some doors may close but others open if you watch for them.

10. Watch where you are going – plan the future and forget the past.

Happy people do not try to drive looking over their shoulder at where they have been. Periodically you may need to look back just to see how far you have really come. Climbing a steep trail can feel like you are getting nowhere but a glance over your shoulder will show you what you left behind.

If you have wreckage in your past, work on cleaning it up and then get moving again. Do not continue to dwell in the land of the past.

11. Do not push yourself till you drop.

Hard work is necessary to accomplish things in life, too much hard work is more like self-abuse. Happy people learn that you can’t give at your peak if you do not replenish what you have. Happy people take time out for rest and relaxation. Life needs to be fun, not an incredible grind that you endure until you reach the end of your life all used up.

Learn to practice good self-care if you want to maximize your happiness.

12. Believe in yourself.

If you believe in yourself you will get more done. People who think they can’t won’t. If you believe you can and that you are worth it you will go a lot farther in life and you will be happier along the journey.

Practice these happy life skills each day and watch your life improve.

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Have you developed happy life skills?

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