"Do not set aside your happiness. Do not wait to be happy in the future. The best time to be happy is always now." _ Roy T. Bennett
We all talk about wanting to be happy, but have you ever noticed how easily we tend to focus on the negatives in life? This persistent focus on the negative ultimately leads to negative emotions or, in other words, a feeling of unhappiness. Oftentimes when I ask my clients what they wish to get out of counseling they say, "I just want to be happy." What that means and what that looks like is different for each person. They often describe feeling like they will attain happiness by getting a better job or finding their soul mate. And there are others who believe they will never be happy.
So what does happiness mean? Research suggests that happiness is a combination of how satisfied you are with your life and and how good you feel on a daily basis. Happiness is an emotion in which we experience feelings of contentment, satisfaction, or bliss. Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. Being happy means that, although external events have the ability to trigger negative thoughts, you are choosing to interpret the events in a positive light. You can turn things around by exercising your power over the negativity in the world and deciding your happiness is entirely up to you. You won't find happiness outside of yourself. Happiness really does come from within. Material things will never provide you with the happiness you are searching for. One of my favorite quotes by Henry Ford says, "Whether you think you can or you can't, you are right." We all have the choice to be happy or not be happy.
3 Tips to Living a Happier Life:
Stop comparing yourself to others. Social media makes this so difficult. We can feel like things are great until we look at a friend's post on Facebook and start thinking about how much better they have it (whether that's true or not). This is why it is so important to stay focused on your own path and goals. Be proud of what you've accomplished and continue to focus on what you wish to work on. What other's do has not impact in your own success or happiness so do not allow the comparison trap to make you question yourself.
Stop your negative self-talk. We can all be our own worst critics, but negative self-talk leads to poor self-esteem and a bad attitude. Negative self-talk will never lead to happiness. Turning your negative thinking into positive thoughts will change the way you talk about yourself and contribute to your goal of attaining happiness.
Cultivate gratitude. Make it a point to give thanks and recognize things or people you are grateful for each day. Gratitude means appreciating what you receive in life whether tangible or intangible. Spending time each day giving thanks for all that is good in your life will help diminish feelings of sadness, anxiety, and depression.
What's stopping you from being happy? Are you ready to use your power to living the fulfilling life you wish to live? My hope is that you will make this life everything you wish it to be.