Your attitude can go a long way toward making you happy. How conscientious you are about checking your attitude to make sure that you’re telling yourself the truth and confronting your negativity will make a big difference to your happiness. But I think you have to agree that without good health, it’s impossible to maintain peak happiness.
Take a look at this list and pick out something to do that will help you improve your health and maintain it.
- Exercise – did you know that people who exercise regularly live about 5 to 7 years longer than inactive people? Try to get about 30 minutes of exercise on most days.
- Watch Your Weight – obesity is linked to heart disease, type II diabetes, several other health conditions, and reduced life expectancy. Find out what your ideal weight is and find a plan to help you get there. It’s easier than ever these days because we all have more options. Do it.
- Stop smoking – people who smoke die about 10 years earlier than if they had never smoked, BUT if you stop smoking, you can get most of those years back.
- Get enough sleep – get the amount of sleep that is right for you. Doctors generally recommend around seven hours per night. It helps to repair your body and regenerate you overall.
- Eat smart – it easier than ever these days to eat healthfully because we have a lot of choices. To make it simple, try to build your diet around vegetables and fruits, lean sources of protein, and complex carbohydrates. If you take the time to learn a little bit about good nutrition and food choices, you’ll find that there’s enough out there to choose from so that you can be healthy and not feel deprived.
- Floss – you might not know how important this is, and not just for your teeth. Flossing removes bacteria that could otherwise cause inflammation in your gums. This inflammation activates your body’s inflammatory response; this in turn raises your blood pressure and puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke. It can also damage brain tissue. Studies are showing that inflammation is at the core of much disease today; flossing is an easy way to guard your body against inflammation.
- Socialize – people with a strong social network of family and friends live longer than those who are not connected to others. Connection is an antidote for stress.
- Get a check up – you will live a longer, healthier life if potential problems like diabetes or heart disease are caught early.
These are minimal things you can do to stay happy and healthy. Consider them. They take a little work, but there’s a great payoff.
Remember the statement, “All fear is fear of loss.”? Closely connected with that idea is the idea that unhappiness exists when we think about or regret something in the past or when we worry about something in the future. When we live in the present moment completely, we don’t experience unhappiness.
Have you ever known someone who wanted something so much but was afraid she wouldn’t get it (for instance, a woman who wants to get married or have a baby) that she can’t be happy in the present moment? Or, have you ever known someone who is so unhappy because of an event in the past (for instance, loss of a spouse through death or divorce) that he can’t be happy in the present moment? I think we all have. But this is a choice those people make, knowingly or unknowingly. If they choose to let go of that memory or that fear in the present moment, they could begin to be happy. It doesn’t mean giving up on their dreams or ignoring the memory of their loved ones; it means choosing happiness now.
Maybe, like those people, you are concentrating on something in the past or something you are afraid you won’t get in the future to the extent that you can’t enjoy today.
The difference between people who live unhappy lives and those who go on to thrive is not what happened or didn’t happen to them, but how they reacted to it.
Living in the present will increase your happiness for another, obvious reason. When you increase your attention on something, you increase your ability to enjoy it. Make a conscious decision to be present in each moment. It increases your power and effectiveness and deepens your experience.
Letting go of the past and the future and fully enjoying the present will increase your happiness.
Have you ever come across the type of person that you felt you just couldn’t trust for some reason? You didn’t know exactly what it was, but he just wasn’t on the level. Or how about the type of person who always has a story, it’s just not a story you believe. Most of us have come across those types – they’re easy to spot because they’re obvious. The truth is, though, we all have some “masking” in us.
As we were growing up and forming our ideas about how to act safely in this world, we all began to wear masks in varying degrees. We say and do the socially acceptable things, and we defer to people in authority over us, no matter what our age. We’ve been doing it for so long and it’s so automatic, that many of us have no idea what we really think or feel. We do it because we don’t want to be rejected by others and because we’re not so sure about ourselves to begin with.
These masks keep us safe. They also imprison us. All of our “shoulds” and “have to’s” and “ought to’s” obscure who we really are. Some people are afraid of repercussions if they decide to be more authentically themselves. But authenticity is not a license to be boorish, and most people know that, so fear of repercussions is invalid. A few people may be threatened by your authenticity in and of itself, but more people will probably welcome it, and studies have shown that the more authentic you are, the more authentic people you attract.
The more people trust themselves and are comfortable with themselves, the more authentic they become in what they say and in their behavior. The more people give up their masks, the more they can explore and celebrate their real self. This releases all the energy that went into maintaining their masks so that it can be put into celebrating their lives.
Do a little investigating into what you think and feel. Is an authentic? Is it working well for you? Is it time to replace those old thoughts and feelings with more authentic ones, ones that represent who you really are.
We are all changing and growing all the time. Choose the beliefs, feelings, and values that are real for you now. You will be freer, more alive, and happier.
One thing we can agree on is that we all want to be happy, right? You might think so, but studies of people in every stage of life have shown that we virtually never put happiness first. It is always a by-product of something else and never the main event.
When you look at this breakdown, you might agree that it sounds fairly accurate:
Question: “What will make you happy?”
- Elementary school – children in third grade listed their wants as trips to the amusement park, dolls that talk, bicycles, no more homework, and video games.
- High school students – this age group wanted to be popular, to have a boyfriend or girlfriend, to excel in sports, to get a drivers license, they have nice clothes, and get into a good college.
- Mid-20’s group – this group wanted a meaningful relationship, a better job, more money, a good apartment.
- Mid-40’s group – this group wanted better relationships with their spouses, more respectful children, better job opportunities, financial security, less stress, and more personal time.
- Mid-60’s group – this group wanted health, security, respect from others, status in the community. Once in a while, they mention peace or comfort or even happiness.
Never was the word ” happiness” mentioned, but when people of every age were asked why they wanted bicycles or a drivers license or a better job, they always said it was because that would make them happy. They believed that happiness would be the end result of obtaining all of these things, but they never stated it directly. The result of that is that they’re putting off their happiness until they have the things they think will give it to them. The real solution is to choose to be happy now while they’re working for whatever it is they desire.
In many cases, happiness is as easy as realization of it. What’s standing in the way of happiness is all the negative self talk and training that brought us to a point where we thought we had to have something – whatever that thing is – in order to be happy. In many cases, it’s just as easy as flipping a switch.
The solution, then, is as simple as making the decision to be happy now.
If we’re so smart, why aren’t we happy? For one thing, a lot of us don’t really believe it’s possible. But the secret is – happiness is a choice, just as unhappiness is a choice.
You don’t believe me? You probably have lots of reasons not to. You may have faced external circumstances that challenged you and even threatened your survival. You may have internal demons that challenge your relationships or career or friendships or your own peace of mind. You may be full of confusion and doubts and can’t see your way to being happy until you have answers for these things.
Many of us accept the fact that unhappiness is a natural state for us. We accept it, and fight like brave soldiers to survive in spite of it. We trained ourselves to be unhappy through thousands and thousands of negative responses. We can train ourselves to be happy by choosing, time after time, the response that will give us happiness.
In the past we responded with anger, impatience, jealousy, and fear, but each time we choose peace, acceptance, forgiveness, and love, we are telling ourselves that this is an option. Remember the old question,” Which would you rather be, happy or right?” Well, this choice comes down to “Would you rather dwell on being right and be unhappy, or would you rather dwell on having a response that makes you happy.” “Right” is subjective. It doesn’t make you wrong or weak to choose being happy; it makes you smart.
All of us have great skills and abilities that we have been born with or that have come to us very naturally. Some people tap into these talents and use them to create exciting opportunity in their lives. Many people, however, never fully express themselves and their own capabilities and they pay a great price for it.
Take a close look at anyone who has suppressed themselves in at least one area of their life. They had a talent of some sort but decided not to pursue it any longer for one reason or another; failure, ridicule, pain and so on. In essence, they gave up on a dream.
What you will notice is that people who have gone through this kind of experience tend to carry some kind of burden with them. There is a part of them that always wonders what might have been if they had not given up on their dream. The entire dilemma has been caused by one root issue and it debilitates huge numbers of people all of the time. That issue is self doubt.
When you doubt yourself or your ability to persist in the face of adversity, you immediately cut yourself off from the internal strength and the resourcefulness required to succeed in life.
Think about professionals, in any arena, who are at the top of their game. They are admired and respected by everyone and you know by watching them, that there isn’t a shadow of doubt in their mind that they have what it takes to accomplish their goals. Even when they miss the mark or have a temporary set back, they have conditioned themselves to move forward with the knowing that their next attempt will be successful.
The key word here is “conditioning”. These elite professionals have carefully and repeatedly programmed their mind with thoughts of success, winning and self confidence. Very often it was done deliberately with the understanding that pique confidence comes as a result of practice. Just like you practice if you want to be a better singer, athlete, speaker or business person.
When you learn how to dissolve your own self doubt and replace that doubt with a strong, confident inner voice that tells you to keep going in the face of adversity, you allow all of your natural talents flow. When you reach this level of life, you automatically feel happier and you look for more opportunity to get even better at what already comes naturally.
When you start a new project or take on a new task in your life, do you spend a lot of time worrying about making mistakes?
In my first case management positions, I worked for a private rehabilitation company managing workers’ compensation injury cases for a local food chain. I had very little experience compared to the other consultants who performed the same role. My company was billing out my time at very expensive rates so the customer’s expectations were very high.
Inevitably, there were times where I messed things up; usually due to lack of experience. In some cases the mistakes would impact other parts of the business, cause down time or delay project deadlines. Obviously the client would not be happy in these circumstances.
Almost 100% of the time I was able to turn a stressful situation like this into a win for both myself and the customer. Here was the simple process:
- Take Ownership: I made sure that the client knew I was taking full responsibility for the problem. I apologized for the mistake and assured them I was going to do everything possible to correct it.
- Focus On The Solution: Instead of getting frustrated, upset or panicked, I forced myself to only dwell on potential solutions. I would call colleagues for support and research the problem thoroughly and eventually a solution would present itself.
- Go Above And Beyond: Once a solution was determined, not only would I implement and test the solution, I would do anything else beyond the call of duty that proved to the customer that I cared about doing a good job. It could be something simple like finding a valuable local community resource for a customer or something more complex like adding services that the client didn’t pay for (as a bonus).
In many cases, I was able to turn the once frustrated/upset customer into a raving fan. The fact that I made a mistake was so easily forgivable because I earned the respect and admiration of the client through my actions.
Learn to accept the fact that you are going to mess up at some point (in life or in business). When you commit to excellence and do what it takes to correct mistakes when you make them, you not only pick up a ton of technical skill, you also earn the support of the people you deal with.