Tag Archives: living happy
How often do you stop to reflect on what you have? Do you tell the people in your life how much they mean to you on a regular basis? Do you feel thankful for good weather, for new opportunities, for simple pleasures and little conveniences that make your life easier?
If not, it might be time to start thinking this way.
Gratitude is perhaps the single most powerful component of living a happy life. We’ve talked in the past about the importance of connecting with others, of using your energy to improve the lives of others, and even touched on SoulPancake’s study on gratitude – but a lifestyle of thankfulness involves ALL of these topics.
It’s about appreciation for what’s in front of you, and looking for the elements worth appreciating in every experience, both good and bad.
When you learn to live with gratitude, it’s like seeing the silver lining of every cloud – but even beyond making the most out of unfavorable situations, thinking and living in this way opens you up to looking at the world with a very different set of eyes.
Gratitude is more than thankfulness (even though feeling thankful is part of it). Sure, you’ll feel “thankful” when someone does you a favor or pays you a compliment, but a mindset of gratitude will allow you to see the goodness within those people, to appreciate all of the moments that have built up to their kind words or actions (in both your life and theirs), and ultimately prepares you to articulate how important such acts of kindness really are.
It’s like accomplishing multiple goals with a single state of mind! A grateful attitude helps you look on the bright side, it makes you more open to connecting with new people and appreciating the people already in your life, it makes you notice and celebrate small successes (and look for lessons in failures), helps you feel confident and brave, and gives you a reason to smile!
Notice that every one of those things mentioned above is a pathway to happiness on its own – and gratitude helps bring about ALL OF THEM.
Living a life of gratitude is a gateway to greater happiness and more connection with the world around you. You can start small – look for things to appreciate in your immediate surroundings. Look to the things that make you the happiest, and start making it a regular practice. Soon you’ll be looking for things to appreciate everywhere – and then you’ll do it without even thinking about it!
This is your chance to totally change your approach to daily life. Get started now!
Two of the biggest roadblocks to happiness share a source. For some, it’s regret. For others, it’s obsessing about the “good ol’ days” – the way things once were.
For both groups of people, though, a focus on the past is preventing them from being happy in the present. It doesn’t matter if those memories of the past are positive (good ol’ days) or negative (regret), they both create an unrealistic and unhealthy approach the present – and the future.
If you’re stuck on the past because of something you regret, you’re walking around with your own personal raincloud. It will prevent you from seeing your own self worth, or even accepting that you’ve grown and changed – and may not even be the same person who behaved so regrettably.
Now, you shouldn’t forget your past entirely, especially if you harbor some guilt over something you once did. You should, however, accept the fact that what’s done is done. You can do your best to make amends for your mistakes, to right whatever wrongs you may have caused, but after accepting responsibility and making an effort to put things right, there isn’t anything else you can do!
It’s good to remember your mistakes in order to learn from them, but they don’t have to define who you are, or how you assume others think of you.
Looking to the past with too much fondness and nostalgia can be equally poisonous, though. When you think your best is behind you, you stop having something to look forward to. If you think your life has already “peaked,” how do you find joy in the present?
This mentality actually minimizes the happiness people experience because, no matter what happens, it always seems less significant than the “glory days.”
Remembering past accomplishments with fondness can be helpful – it can fill you with confidence, and help you make use of the lessons you learned along the way – but if it’s getting in the way of your ability to experience happiness in the moment, it’s a serious problem.
Instead of looking to the past, whether that past is full of sunshine or shadow, accept that it’s done and over with. It will always be a part of your life, but what happened yesterday can only affect today so much. That’s the thing about the past – there’s no changing it, and no getting it back.
You do control the present though, and it’s up to you to find your own happiness in the here and now!
Today, March 20th, is the United Nations International Day of Happiness! On this very special day, the United Nations Foundation is teaming up with Pharrell Williams and many, many others to spread a message of happiness to the whole world!
If you’re not familiar with Pharrell, he’s the man behind the hit song Happy, and the world’s first 24-hour music video to accompany it. With this “24 Hours of Happy” in tow, the United Nations is using this day to raise awareness for both the importance of individual happiness, and the global need to make human happiness and wellbeing a fundamental goal for all governments, businesses, and every single person on the planet.
Through non-profit programs and public service announcements, the folks behind the International Day of Happiness are helping to improve the way we think about the world around us, and inspire every last one of us to not only embrace our own happiness, but to take action to increase the happiness of those around us.
The methods, as you well know, are countless! Everything from making sure you’re getting enough exercise to making a point to smile at strangers will help your own levels of happiness – and on a larger scale, helping others in need, choosing businesses known for high ethical standards, and simply exuding kindness in your daily life will go a long way in making the world a happier place to live in!
There are a few online resources dedicated to the International Day of Happiness, with information on how to get involved in the big–picture goals, learn about the physical benefits of personal happiness, and connect with other people around the world who are committed to building a world of happy people!
For starters, visit http://www.dayofhappiness.net/ for details about the International Day of Happiness mission and the UN’s resolution to build a happier, healthier global community.
At http://www.actionforhappiness.org/ you’ll find even more wonderful resources, tips, and activities to help promote happiness in your community (and learn why it’s so important).
And as a bit of a bonus, put a little pep in your step with the 24-hour music video for Pharrell’s Happy here: http://24hoursofhappy.com/
Let’s celebrate happiness together – today, tomorrow, and every day after!
“Research shows that expressing gratitude makes you happier and healthier.”
The above phrase proudly welcomes you to Happier.com, neatly conveying the philosophy behind this new app combining a social gratitude journal with a positive community. Happier could be simply described as a thoughtful, positive spin on Twitter, but it’s truly much more than that. Designed to encourage users to express and appreciate what makes them happy in life, the app also acts as a head check for those moments when we forget what keeps us going every day.
“There is no way I can anticipate all the good things that are going to happen today.”
– Brian Narelle
The above phrase was the first thing that I saw after signing up for the app and checking out the Featured page. I was having a nothing-special day at work and it made me take a step back and think for a moment: what good things have happened today? I lost track after a dozen. Taking stock of the little things, the good things in our lives, seems like an easy thing, yet it’s just as easily forgotten. This app first and foremost helps internalize that recognition and jumpstart the feelings of gratitude that naturally springs forth.
This focus on gratitude is important.
Last Sunday, on the Oscars broadcast, Best Actor winner Matthew McConaughey expressed himself in a most eloquent way. He said that he needs three things in life: someone to look up to, something to look forward to, and someone to chase. He says that he looks up to God, and in his words, “He has shown me that it is a scientific fact, that gratitude reciprocates.” Funny enough, science backs this statement up.
Research has defined gratitude as a social emotion that helps bind us to our communities and enhances relationships. Primatologists have observed behaviors that look remarkably like gratitude in chimpanzees, who are more likely to share food with peers who have recently groomed them. This begs the question: what is the physiological payoff for feeling grateful? The research suggests that you’ll feel more optimistic, better able to manage stress, and even more enthusiastic about exercise, leading to better sleep. If you don’t naturally gravitate toward expressing gratitude, there are simple fixes designed to set you on that path. One example is writing down the things that you are thankful for. Doing so on a regular basis can achieve remarkably similar benefits.
This brings us back to what Happier is all about: shaping our internal and external lives in small, gradual ways, toward a more grateful, and ultimately, happier form. The community centers around posts like you’d see on Twitter or Facebook, with a positive twist: little blurbs about what brings happiness to your life, thoughts on how to make today better by appreciating what’s already there, and advice to others on how to train yourself to actively seek out and acknowledge that which makes life worth living.
Friends – or anyone you find inspiring and interesting – will see your posts and “me too” them (the equivalent of a Like on Facebook) and leave comments of encouragement and camaraderie. In turn, you can do the same for their happiness posts. The app keeps track of your milestones, encouraging you with every 5, 10, 50 moments of happiness that you share, incentivizing the process as it, internally, incentivizes your thought process toward a positive approach to experiencing life. This feedback loop of gratitude can truly work wonders for people, as evidenced just by my short time spent with the app.
The encouragement received from sharing even the tiniest bits of happiness in your day comes in the form of others seeing your moment and feeling happy themselves. Knowing that you’ve made someone smile inherently feels great. If you’re having a truly rough time and can’t think of anything to share, just browse through your friends’ experiences and something is sure to perk you up and brighten the day. When you think about it, that moment itself can be your happiness. Go ahead and share it, knowing you’re doing the same for someone else having a dark moment today!
This notion of positive feedback is the core of why Happier was created: being the social animals that we are, expressing gratitude for our lives will have others realizing what they’ve been taking for granted. This will only make us more grateful and happy for the positive emotions that we’re helping to spread. The science behind this idea backs up what we know in our hearts when we feel it: gratitude makes us happier and healthier people.
Give Happier a try at www.happier.com or download the app (currently only on Apple but coming soon to Android) for your mobile device. You’ll be wheeling through lists of positivity and brightness in no time. You don’t need the app to appreciate life’s small moments of grace, but it helps keep track of them in this fast paced world. Always remember that gratitude is not only good for you; it’s truly essential for the happiness of us all.
People like to get excited about things. There’s an element of giddy happiness in waiting for a special date to arrive, to see a special person, or to experience a moment built up in our minds to be extremely important and joyful. This is the kid on Christmas morning in a nutshell.
What does that tell us about what makes us happy? It’s certainly worth noting that we actually derive happiness from the anticipation of something we think will make us happy. How strange is that?
The act of waiting for something good to happen can actually boost our day-to-day happiness! So, if you want to use this to your advantage, try giving yourself something to look forward to!
You could plan a trip to somewhere special, and even if it means saving over the long-term, putting the details in place as you go, and setting a date far enough in advance to get all your preparations in order, you’ll have something great to anticipate the entire time!
If you’re feeling stressed or unhappy, you can simply look at that date on the calendar, and let the eager anticipation of your awesome vacation brighten your spirits!
In fact, this “tactic” works with more than just vacations or elaborate trips. It’s about giving yourself something to look forward to, no matter how small. If this sense of anticipation helps boost happiness, then why not always give yourself fun things wait for?
Maybe this means planning your social life well in advance, or making a point to pick a few exciting outings to plan every few months. Whatever it is that you find yourself looking forward to, time with family, adventures with friends, calm evenings alone, or anything else you get enjoyment from, try to plan it out a little bit!
Just having those events marked on your calendar will give you something to anticipate, and in turn feel happy about. Just like planning a vacation or special trip, having those happy events to look forward to can help you overcome feelings or stress and anxiety. It’s like having a light at the end of the tunnel!
So, what do you have to look forward to?