How happy people manage to keep themselves that way?
Have you ever looked at happy people and thought I wish I could be like them? Often we look at those who have plenty of money and possessions yet they don’t appear to be that happy.
What is going on? Have some people got the key to happiness cracked while the rest of us struggle on in misery?
Back in the 1940’s, Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist developed a theory called ‘The Hierarchy of Needs’. He suggested that our needs originate at a physiological level, where our need for food & sleep etc. drive us. However, once those needs are satisfied we strive for the next thing, which according to Maslow, is safety.
What Maslow teaches us is that whenever we find something which we think will make us happy, there is another factor waiting to be satisfied. It’s easy to see how this won’t result in happiness anytime soon.
Contentment is aligned to happiness, the difference being that it embraces acceptance and places control of your happiness within the self, rather than on external factors.With this in mind,
With this in mind, let’s see how happy people manage to keep themselves that way.
1. Follow your Passion
One of the biggest causes of discontent today is that people forge paths for themselves in directions that they think they should. Being ‘on purpose’ involves figuring out what you were born to do. This sounds like an insurmountable task, especially if you are feeling lost.
- Invest time in revisiting the person you were as a child.
- What were you passionate about?
- What did you want to do, and why?
You may not achieve exactly what you dreamed of as a child, but the driving force behind can lead you to find another area that will give you the same feeling of satisfaction. Open your mind to the possibility of change.
2. Be Present
Live in the here & now. Worrying about the future or the past won’t change things in this moment. Focus on what you are doing, who you are with and how you are feeling. That gives you the best chance of enjoying the present moment. Too often we miss the little things in life because we are obsessing about something else.
3. Give Thanks
Say ‘Thank You’ every day. When life proves difficult we can forget all of the wonderful gifts we have. Instead of focussing on what’s lacking, be grateful for all that you do. If you need help in this area, why not have a listen to Nina Simone singing ‘I Got Life’? She might just put you on the right track.
4. Connect to Others
No man is an island, or so poet, John Donne wrote. Our hectic lives restrict the amount of one to one interaction we are exposed to.
Designate time to spend with the people in your life, without phones & tablets. A cup of coffee with an old friend can do the world of good for both of you. Pay attention to the feeling you have afterward and remember it when you start making excuses the next time.
5. Let It Go
Another thing happy people do is letting go. Life is rife with little annoyances, from traffic jams to impolite people. When a minor stress event crosses your path you can choose how you react.
You can either shout about it, raising your own blood pressure, putting yourself in a bad mood, or you can choose to accept it and move on. The person on the receiving end of the complaint will feel much better if you let it go, and so will you.
6. Take Time Out
Taking some down time for yourself is not a luxury, as many people seem to believe it is. Rather, it is a necessity to living a full, happy life.
Whether your time out is in the form of exercise or meditation, yoga or winding down with a good book, it is essential. In these moments we reconnect with ourselves, it’s our chance to get off the conveyor belt of life for a while, take it.
7. Look at Problems Differently
When a problem poses itself you can choose how to deal with it. Much like our response to little stressors, how we deal with big issues can directly affect our happiness. Successful, happy people tend to see problems as a solution waiting for a place to happen, whereas more negative types can tend to fixate on possible catastrophic outcomes.
They may initiate the ‘blame game’ or turn inward, berating themselves for causing the problem. Blame does not further a solution, only carefully considered action can do that. Take a minute to breathe and decide how you want to tackle the situation – positively, or negatively.
Don’t waste your life chasing objects that will never satisfy the yearning deep inside you for contentment. Happiness is within your reach, right now. All you have to do is change how you interact with the world, project positivity and see how the world reciprocates.