By David Joel Miller.
Add to your happiness a little at a time.
Being happy doesn’t require a lot of money. It requires developing a few happiness skills. Happiness doesn’t come from accomplishing one grand goal. You build happiness a little at a time each day. Try adding a few of these happiness hacks to your life each day, and watch your total happiness grow. Which of these happiness skills should you be practicing?
Get adequate sleep.
People who fail to get enough sleep become irritable and grouchy. Lack of sleep is a prime cause of mistakes. People who get enough sleep are better able to handle life’s problems as they come along. People who are chronically sleep deprived are at increased risk for depression and other mental health issues. You will spend more time sleeping than you will expend on any other activity in your lifetime make sure you do a good job of sleeping.
Love what you do.
Second behind sleeping will be the amount of time that you will spend working. All other activities will receive smaller amounts of your time. If you enjoy what you do for a living it will go a long way toward making your life happy. Don’t expect those few other hours of your life to generate enough happiness to make up for working at a job that makes you miserable. People who work a job they enjoy are doubly blessed. They get to enjoy what they do while at work and they get to enjoy the things that the money they earn at work will provide for.
Become a happiness expert.
Happiness is one of those emotions that may be hard to spot if you haven’t made a habit out of recognizing it. There’s a thing called the expert effect which says that it’s hard to recognize something if you don’t know what it is. To have more happiness in your life, make it a project to study happiness so you will recognize it when it crosses your path.
Make lists of what you have, not what you are missing.
Many people have long lists of the things that they don’t have. If you stay focused on the things that are missing in your life you create a life full of scarcity. The happiest people are the people who spend the time to notice all the wonderful things they do have. Make it a point to develop a gratitude list. Give thanks for the wonderful things that you do have in your life no matter how small those things are. People who are grateful for what they do have, find that they can be happy even in tough times. Those who are focused on what they don’t have will find that they will never have enough things to make them happy.
For more happiness be yourself.
Happy people are fully themselves. Learn to accept yourself the way you are. Do not try to be someone else. People who are genuine and authentic find it easy to be happy. Those who are constantly trying to be someone are something other than themselves find the task impossibly discouraging.
Let others be who they are.
Happy people are able to accept others as they are. If you’re constantly insisting that other people need to change for you to be happy you are creating your own unhappiness. Accept other people as they are. That does not mean that you need to let everybody into your life or associate with them. Just accept people for who and what they are and stop upsetting yourself when they don’t meet your expectations.
Plan on having a good day.
If you tell yourself that you will have a bad day you will create that bad day. Tell yourself that you plan to have a good day and no matter what happens you are likely to recognize those small pleasant events.
Stop comparing up.
Stop comparing yourself to other people. There will always be someone richer, more powerful, or smarter. Be OK with who and what you are. Let other people be who they are. You should not compare yourself in your gardening outfit was someone dressed to attend a fancy event.
Embrace your flaws, stop trying to be perfect.
You are a human being. You are required to do things, make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. Nowhere in the rule book on being human does it say that anyone is expected to be perfect.
Stay in the present.
Avoid focusing on the past, it is gone. People who stay stuck in the past are unable to live in the present. The more you ruminate about the past, what shouldn’t have happened, the more depressed you become. People who are constantly thinking about the future, what might happen, become highly anxious and unable to be happy in present. People who are successful and living in the present are the happiest people.
Do more of what’s working.
Unhappiness comes from not learning from your mistakes. Happiness is a result of discovering those things in your life that are working and doing more of them. Constantly be on the lookout for those things that you are doing that are creating positive results.
Find your passion.
In your work, your relationships, their hobbies, and all other activities pursue your passions. People who devote themselves to the things that they feel passionate about derive great pleasure from doing. Whenever it is that turns you on, as long as it does not harm others, do more of it.
Allow others to be wrong.
Happy people are content to allow other people to be wrong on occasion. Keep open the possibility that there are times you will believe something which later turns out to be incorrect. Let other people be wrong also. Don’t feel the need to correct others.
Pick wise goals.
Before you give a lot of time and effort to pursuing a goal make sure that goal is worthwhile. Turns out that happiness is more about achieving good goals than about accomplishing everything. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. When your goals are good and wise, any progress you make towards them will make you happy.
Keep your life in balance.
A happy life is a life that is in balance in all areas. No one part of your life should take over. Keep your work, your family, your self-care, and all other parts of your life in their proper balance and you make it easier to have a happy life. In other posts, we will talk more about the various parts of your life and how to keep those all in balance.
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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