How can I be happy? This question is behind every human thought and action, marketing campaign, manufactured product, social structure, philosophy, theory, psychology, science and religion.
In fact, everything that comes from us humans is an attempt to answer this particular question. Check out our own list of answers below.
1 – Stop trying to be happy
Let’s assume that your pursuit of happiness relies on enjoying fine food. During your search, how can you judge between the flavors you taste? Each time, you most probably say, “No, not this one. I’m not happy yet.” Now, let’s say you find that perfect flavor one day. You feel extremely happy and exclaim, “Eureka! I found it. This is the taste I’ve been searching for all my life.” Sure, you enjoy it, but what about the next flavor? Even if you’re lucky enough to taste the same flavor again, what about the flavor after that? What about the next ten flavors?
As it happens, now you’ve achieved your goal, you’ll never feel the same happiness again. On the other hand, imagine that you don’t expect much from what you eat. What sort of an experience would it be? In this case, even simple bread would be a new experience and a new source of pleasure.
2 – Find out what makes you unhappy
John P. Allen is a scientist, philosopher, writer, and inventor of Biosphere 2, a very interesting ecological experiment. When we asked him about how we can be happy at an evening do, he said that once we find out what makes us unhappy and stop doing it, we find a better way to reach happiness and contentment.
3 – Try to give up your unrealistic wishes and expectations
Our wishes and expectations actually rule our lives in a subconscious way. Our wishes, especially the unrealistic ones, are the main source of our unhappiness. Giving them up, accepting that they will never come true, and feeling sorrow for them leads to contentment and happiness.
4 – Accept that you can’t control everything
Many of my clients suffer because they try to control the uncontrollable, such as the emotions and thoughts of other people, basic facts, certain situations, and even our own emotions and thoughts.
5 – Don’t try to be loved by everyone or be seen as innocent
A major thing we want to control is other people’s feelings and thoughts about us. A person who fears being seen to be “bad,” receiving criticism, or not being appreciated by others cannot be a “good” person. Such people cannot take the necessary actions, which are actually meant to be good for them even though they may be unpopular. In the end, these people put themselves, the people they influence, their families, and their employees into a much more miserable position.
6 – Stop looking for guarantees
Accept the fact that nothing is guaranteed at any stage in life. We cannot expect that every action we want to take in life will be 100% successful. Otherwise, we will wait forever.
7- Don’t place too much faith in justice
Justice is one of the most problematic notions. We shout, “But that’s not fair!” But what we actually mean is that it didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to. The world does not owe us any justice, I’m afraid. Expecting justice in life makes you fight with things that happened in the past, rather than understanding your current circumstances. In this case, you also give up on taking any future actions that will make you happy.
8 – Be fair
Being fair is something you can do, not something you can expect to happen. Every single minute, we are torn between two choices: the thing that we truly know is right and the thousands of tiny demons inside our heads telling us something else.
9 – Stop fighting with the weather forecast
The effort we make just to be happy reminds me of a man trying to control the weather. When he of course fails to do this, he feels disappointed at first. He then curses the rain and wind as if they were his enemies. Circumstances are circumstances, simple. If our happiness relies on controlling circumstances that are really beyond our control, then we are a long way from finding happiness.
10 – Set your personal boundaries efficiently
If you don’t set personal boundaries to protect yourself, you can’t achieve the things that will make you happy.
11 – Add some wisdom to your self-development and self-healing efforts
You can’t be good at everything. Think about that personal characteristic you’ve been trying to improve for ages but always failed. Most probably, it will never change. What would happen if you simply accepted this fact?
12 – Find your strengths and express them
Mastering something is a highly satisfying experience, but focusing on your strong attributes can only improve this.
13 – Identify your weaknesses and build a strategy to improve them
While focusing on your strong points, it’s also a good idea to take precautions about your weaknesses, so they wouldn’t cause any problems in future.
14 – Stop trying to make a mirror from a brick
A Zen student was constantly meditating and exerting a massive effort. When his teacher asked him why he was meditating so hard, he replied, “I’m trying to become enlightened.” The teacher then picked up a brick from the floor and started rubbing it hard. The student was disturbed by the noise, so he opened his eyes and asked the teacher what he was doing. When the teacher said that he was making a mirror, the student replied, “Master, it doesn’t matter how long or hard you rub that brick. It will never turn into a mirror.”
The teacher then told him, “And no matter how hard you meditate, you won’t become enlightened.” Wise people say that enlightenment is a state of understanding your true self, rather than an experience where you change yourself.
15 – Determine a different aim in life
Move away from earning money and acquiring material things, and find ways to improve this aim. As George Carlin said, “Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy your hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.” You’d be better off eating the sandwiches.
16 – Make your life meaningful
According to Victor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor and founder of Logotheraphy, you are the only person who can answer the question “What is the meaning of my existence?”
17 – Try to see things as they are
Whatever you think about yourself, others, incidents, and the world right now is just a reflection of your perception. It has nothing to do with reality. You perceive the world based on yourself, not as it really is.
18 – Accept yourself as you are
Accepting yourself as you are is a continuous endeavor that you should maintain at every moment of every day. It is the only way to be content and happy.
19 – Know yourself very well…and do this every day
Be aware that your self does not stay static. It changes depending on how you react to incidents and facts.
20 – Stop comparing yourself with others!
21 – Stop believing your thoughts
Although you strongly believe that everything in your mind is correct and defines who you are, they are just thoughts.
22 – Establish a full and complete relationship with your mind, your emotions, and your body
Happiness is an emotion triggered by thoughts, and it takes place inside our bodies. Unless we establish a relationship between our mind, body and emotions that depends on awareness and understanding, it is impossible to find happiness.
23 – Be aware that your mind, emotions and body are not “you”
These things don’t belong to you. If you think otherwise, try the following. Stop thinking while you’re struggling to sleep because of the worries in your head. Stop trying to change your emotions when you feel upset about a certain situation. Stop trying not to feel the pain when you burn your hand.
24 – Stop standing between yourself and an action
Contrary to what you might think, spontaneous actions that aren’t suppressed by anticipation are far more effective.
25- Improve your awareness and focus
You can achieve this by gaining awareness and focusing on the present. Concentrate on what is happening right now without being carried away by what your mind and your environment is telling you.
Dost Can Deniz
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