Many people try, for ages, to find out the answer. Possibly you’ve asked yourself that question too at some point in your life. If not, I would like to invite you to ask, what makes you happy and what doesn’t, and try to think a little bit deeper about that. You may be surprised at your answers too. You may discover that some things you consider as happiness triggers, do not bring much happiness to your life in the long run.
I’m not going to discuss all the philosophical theories about happiness. I would prefer to focus a bit more on modern scientific research based on positive psychology, benefits, and practices that could help you to increase the level of your happiness. I will also tell you a bit about my journey and the discoveries I’ve found. Let’s start with benefits.
1. When you are happy your physical health is better and your life expectancy is higher.
Research shows that your immune system is stronger; you have a lower chance of getting ill. It’s obvious in my opinion. When you are happy, your stress level is automatically lower, and as you might know, stress is a silent cause of many serious conditions and has an impact on life expectancy too. It’s healthy to care about the level of your happiness, and there are quite a few ways to do that.
2. You are more productive, creative and innovative at work you do
Have you noticed that your company is caring recently more about the level of your happiness and satisfaction? There are reasons behind that. It’s understandable that people, who are happy, perform tasks better, take less sick days, and they are more creative with the solutions. They are also better leaders and negotiators. I’m very happy to observe a trend that more companies are focusing now more on the well-being of their employees.
3. Happiness combats your negative emotions
Happiness and Optimism could be remedies for fear, anger, cynicism, hate, and frustration. When you cultivate your positive emotions, you decrease the possibility of experiencing some of the negative ones listed above, as they cannot exist at the same time as you experience calmness, joy, confidence, courage, and love.
Happiness is not…
always about a feeling of joy and pleasure. Thinking in a positive way is not repeating to yourself like a parrot “I feel good, I feel happy” when you really do not feel like that. It’s more about noticing positive situations and feelings and cultivating them inside you. It’s a practice, it’s like going to the gym, and it takes time to cultivate happiness so you can notice the difference.
I remember the time when I wasn’t really happy about my life. I was feeling dissatisfaction because of the work I was doing, the relationships with people, and environment I was in. From the outside, everything looked fine, but to be honest, just very few people knew how I really felt. I had no idea what to do about that, but I was searching for solutions. I’ve found at some point one technique, which has helped for a while. It was a positive way of thinking. I’ve started practicing that. I was saying to myself, that everything was fine, that I had a good job, that I had enough money to spend on different things, that I enjoy the life. In some way, I was enjoying, but this approach was working only for some time. In the long-term, it was just a cover for my unhappiness and dissatisfaction. I was feeling stuck and even unhappier when I’ve discovered that this way really does not work well. In some way, it was like lying to myself, and pretending that I’m happy about the things, which were, not making me happy at all in a long run. That path can be addictive also. It’s like eating sweets. You know that having a one piece of cake is good, another also might be fine. However, when you have more and more, you will feel sick after, especially when you mix it with some other stuff. Sounds familiar?
My deeper consciousness was aware of that too and I’ve realised that I need to find a different way to be happy.
Obviously whining and moaning about your life for all the time is not a solution either. Sharing your pains with others helps and I affirm that. However, when you do that all the time it does not work. Other people also might find it challenging to listen to the same story you repeat. I really apologise to you guys for all those complaints I was repeating, like a broken record. And thank you for your patience while you were listening.
More successful solutions to be happy
I’ve started doing more research and I’ve found different techniques, which I can say are more successful now. It’s OK not to feel happy, and the first thing is an acceptance of that feeling. It’s important also not to judge yourself about experiencing those emotions. Next step is to find a real reason for your unhappiness. Sometimes you can do it by yourself by practicing self-reflecting. However, if you feel that you are not able to find a root cause of that feeling by yourself, maybe it’s good to discuss this with a specialist. There is no need to hide it, it’s better to find the courage and ask for help. And it’s good to be open-minded to constructive feedback. Your friends and family might help too. However, they might not be fully honest with you because in many cases they do not want to hurt you. They just want to protect you.
When you realise what really makes you unhappy, it’s time for action to improve. You might take drastic changes, or work on the improvement in your own rhythm by doing small steps. Different people do this in a different way. There is no magic pill for that. However there are certain practices which might help, and scientific research also confirms that. I’m not going to explain them fully here, I will just highlight few of them, and I invite you to do your own research and experiment with those techniques below. And again, it won’t work if you try just once. It’s like going to the gym, lets called it a “Gym of Happiness ☺”
Exercises list 😉
• Write about 3 good events which happened every day, and read them from time to time also, just to remind yourself that there are good things going on in your life
• Do the things you love (Have a hobby)
• Exercise a bit
• Help others & share with others
• Bring more attention to positive emotions and events in your life
• Have a long-term goal and act on it by taking smaller steps
• Spend more time with your friends, family, and people you love
• Don’t treat everything so serious & have some fun instead
It’s really important to notice and cultivate positive events and emotions you experience, and appreciate what you have. However, if you notice that something really does not work in your life, try to change it, or improve it. Pretending that everything is fine is not a healthy way to deal with challenges. Hiding or neglecting an issue wouldn’t resolve your problems either.
What can I do to become happier?
I don’t know. Ask yourself and experiment to find your answers. There is no universal solution to that problem. However, there are some patterns. Look for them, observe, practice, cultivate positive emotions, and choose those things that work for you.
As I said being happy it’s not about seeking joy and pleasure all the time. This can make you even less happy in a long run. Ask yourself what really makes you happy. I remember that someone’s said that that the most happiness you get is from the things you do for free. Try to remember what made you really happy when you were a child or a teenager. Something which you really enjoyed doing. Research shows that cultivating those hobbies create more happy adults. Please also remember that is never too late also to start doing new things.
So maybe being happy it’s not really about buying new clothes or gadgets. I would say it’s more about a deeper feeling of inner happiness and contentment. Search inside yourself for those answers, Happiness is within you and I think it’s a first place where you could start looking for it.
Good luck with your inner research and I would be really happy if you tell me 1 thing which makes you happy in the comments below.